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In many of the conversations we have about partnerships, a few key topics crop up.
Any healthy partner program relies on aligning your needs with the needs of partners, enabling their success and making sure you can quantify your shared success.
Our guest today, Olav Schluter, Director of Global Services Channel Programs at Dell, has orchestrated these key building blocks into a symphony of ecosystem success.
He came on the show today to share how Dell achieved this and I think we can all learn from his achievements.
An overview of Dell’s Services Program
How Dell tackled alignment and avoided competitive friction
How Dell enables its partners
How metrics can be used to differentiate and provide transparency to the end customer
Let’s see what Olav can teach us, shall we?
Dell’s Services Program
The Services Program portion of Dell Technology’s partner program is set up to allow channel partners a clear pathway to demonstrating service delivery capabilities.
These partners can then use this to deliver their own branded services by augmenting Dell’s capabilities with theirs wherever it makes sense for their customers and for joint customers.
Historically, Dell’s partners were centered around resellers, but now Dell is pushing to branch out into partners, strategic outsourcers and cloud service providers who can add services on top of Dell’s existing capabilities.
Aligning in a changing market
The market has changed dramatically since the 90s and even the early 2000s. The addressable market today is noticeably more finite than in the past, which is something Olav says organizations are going to have to just accept.
For Dell, the channel makes up 60% of the addressable market, so the channel opportunities are significant.
And like most infrastructure vendors, Dell is revenue-driven, while many of its partners are revenue-driven as well. Which means their choices for where to invest mostly come down to margin opportunity.
Aligning these goals then comes down to how Dell can drive partner margins. And that all comes down to the attractiveness of the portfolio and even things like ease of doing business, rebates and lead opportunities.
Avoiding competitive friction
While this could sound like a competitive situation, Olav is confident that Dell can ensure that’s not the case and align its goals with those of its partners.
When it comes to selling partners on that concept, Olav doesn’t think Dell has too much work on its hands. In fact, partners come to Dell expressing this need.
What Dell does have to reckon with is meeting its partners where their needs are.
So, for a good subset of the overall portfolio, Dell wants to ensure there is the opportunity to become competent and deliver services with Dell’s backing.
And it’s up to the partners to decide whether they want to pursue that position with their own brand services and resell — or augment — Dell’s services for theirs.
How Dell enables its partners
At the end of the day, this all comes down to getting the framework of the program right.
And Dell is approaching through the enablement of its partners.
Like any framework, Dell’s ecosystem is based on benefits as well as requirements spelling out what partners need to do.
So, Dell is enabling its partners with training and certifications, while ensuring partners are able to demonstrate infrastructure processes and their general capabilities.
The overall capabilities they would need to demonstrate include logistics, incident and problem management in deployment situations and, ultimately, a master of all the technology.
Once they do this, Dell provides them with more formal recognition acknowledging their competency.
How metrics ensure transparency
What’s so interesting about Dell’s certifications here is they go beyond a “one-and-done” approach.
As partners deliver, Dell is able to track results based on service interactions, customer satisfaction and how they use logistics. And better performance means better conditions for partners, including better access to rebates or discounts.
But the most interesting thing about these metrics is how they increase transparency and drive differentiation for Dell’s partners.
By making metrics available to the consumer, Dell has increased transparency by giving customers more ways to make good decisions.
And, as a result, this has the added benefit of allowing partners to use these metrics as differentiating factors.