Channel partner programs, Channel partner events, AI/ML

Dell Expands Partner of Record Program to Include PCs

Dell COO Jeff Clarke at Dell Technologies World 2024

Dell is expanding its Partner of Record server and storage programs to include the company’s client offerings – including PCs, the company announced during Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas this week.

The announcement builds on some powerful partner announcements the company has made in the last year as Dell has increasingly embraced channel partners and delivered on what partners care about.

Building on Last Year’s Momentum

Last year at Dell Technologies World, the company rolled out Partner First for Storage. Darren Sullivan, Dell Global Partner Program and Operations senior vice president told ChannelE2E that the announcement was the “biggest go-to-market announcement I remember at Dell,” and he’s a veteran at the company, having joined when Dell acquired EMC in 2016.

Sullivan said that the announcement demonstrated the importance of partners to Dell’s storage technology sales. He said that 99% of accounts in storage are partner-first accounts.

There are three components of Partner First for Storage.

  • First, Dell sales reps are incentivized to work with partners – they make more if the deal involves a partner, Sullivan said.
  • Second is Partner of Record, a program that designates a partner as owning a particular account and it is determined by that partner having sold a certain amount into the account historically and essentially having a stronghold in that account. Internal sales reps must work with the Partner of Record.
  • Third is an element of internal training and education inside Dell to coach sales reps on how to effectively work with partners including components such as how to do territory planning with partners.

“That was a second-half-of-last-year announcement that was a very significant update to our go-to-market strategy,” Sullivan said. “It was very well received by our partners.”

At Dell Technologies World this week, Dell announced it was increasing the incentive for sales teams to sell Power Store Prime through a partner.

“We’re giving them more motivation to work with partners on this product,” Sullivan said. “We’re also going to share significantly more opportunities with our partners in what we call Tech Refresh.”

Tech refresh is a general term used in the vendor and partner community for organizations replacing old equipment with new equipment. But in this case, Dell has data about the equipment customers have in place, and it knows when that technology is coming up on a maintenance expiration. Dell shares that information with the Partner of Record.

Channel Partners and Dell’s AI Factory Plans

One of the big announcements out of Dell Technologies World builds on the company’s momentum in AI. While every big technology company made AI part of their product roadmaps last year, this year those plans are now materializing in real products, services and opportunities.

Case in point are the five AI PCs that Dell announced this week. Each PC includes a CPU, a GPU and an NPU (neural processing unit). These are part of a bigger strategic initiative around AI that Dell rolled out at its event, all rolled up in something that Dell is calling AI Factory.

Dell vice chairman and chief operating officer Jeff Clarke’s day two product keynote focused the concept of the Dell AI Factory, comprised of Dell infrastructure and client technologies as well as technologies from partners who made appearances on stage, including Nvidia and Microsoft.

Like any factory, the Dell AI Factory processes raw materials, in this case customer data, and turns them into something useful – a product, or in this case insights, Clarke said in his keynote.

Data goes into a stack comprised of Dell infrastructure, an open ecosystem and services, Clarke said. The output is use cases.

Partners have a big role to play in the realization of the benefits of the Dell AI Factory. Dell’s primary focus here appears to be on solutions integrators and systems integrators. This aligns with the Canalys prediction about the types of channel partners that would first be working on AI. (Canalys has said the opportunity will come later for MSPs– likely in the next 18 months.)

The Dell AI Partner Focused Network

But recognizing the big part that partners will play as AI takes over the world,

Dell is rolling out the Dell AI Partner Focused Network, a program for Dell partners who have demonstrated AI capabilities.

This program will give partners access to Dell-validated designs – use cases for AI.

Partners will also get access to Dell AI Solution Centers where partners can showcase the use cases and solutions to customers.

In addition, partners will get access to a series of AI competency training offerings provided both by Dell and by third-party providers.

Sullivan told ChannelE2E that the Dell AI Partner Focused Network program will serve as a template for other partner-specific technology programs from Dell coming in the future.

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.