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“We are on the Right Path on Enhancing Channels in India”

Anil Sethi, Vice President, Channels, Dell EMC India spoke to Amit Singh about the company’s achievements after the Dell EMC integration, and its initiatives and priorities over the next 12 months

With over a year as a combined entity, please provide your achievement highlights over the last 12 months?

Dell EMC has emerged as a holistic solutions provider empowering Indian enterprises to embrace change and transform their IT infrastructure. At the end of a successful one year as a combined entity, Dell EMC leads in the technology of today – servers, storage, PCs, virtualization and security – and tomorrow – cloud infrastructure, CI and HCI, PaaS, VR/AR, etc.

Anil Sethi_High Res
Anil Sethi, Vice President, Channels, Dell EMC India

Within the first year, the company integrated two differently structured salesforces into one holistic channel salesforce. For us, channels is now a $43 billion organization, globally. Almost 70 percent of the Dell EMC partners are getting higher payouts as compared to last year.

In fact, synergy between our businesses is working well for us in terms of cross-selling. In the H1 2017 (starting February), our partners were selling solutions from 2.4 LoBs (Line of Businesses) up from 1.6 LoBs at the start of the year, on an average. Moreover, 70 percent of our partners globally were selling solutions from 3 LoBs.

While we added over 18,000 new customers globally during our H1 2017, our channel server business increased by 22 percent. Moreover, our channel storage business in H1 2017 was as large as the combined channel storage business of the leading vendors including HPE and NetApp.

Further, the first half of 2017 witnessed the roll out a world-class partner program which was embraced by the channel. Today, the company has a consolidated and comprehensive partner program with more than 4000 registered partners in India. This has strengthened the go-to-market and has had a positive impact on the partner community.

With the unified Dell EMC partner program already launched in February this year, how has been the response from channels?

The new Dell EMC Partner Program has received a tremendous response from the channel partners. This is the best-in-class partner program in the industry and covers every single product and types of market in India. It spreads across all the partners and portfolios such as clients, PCs, compute, storage, networking and Virtustream.

Besides combining the partners of Dell and EMC, the main objective of the new program is to increase reach as well as improve partner profitability. The new program is based on three tenets:  Simple, Predictable and Profitable.

With the new program, we have simplified the number of product categories from earlier 27 to 9. In addition, we have made it predictable with semi-annual cycle, instead of quarterly cycle, and by enabling partners calculate their rebates and incentives.

Further, the new partner program has increased focus on rebates and marketing development funds. In fact, it enables partners to earn 1.5 to 8 times more than the old program.

The partners are now categorized in the Gold, Platinum, Titanium and Titanium Black (only for elite partners) categories. Overall, we have 113 metal partners, of which 60 are Gold partners, 45 Platinum and the remaining 8 Titanium partners. Each of these partners has a Partner Account Manager from Dell EMC.

In addition, we have identified about 35 partners as ‘Strategic Partners,’ who will have a National Account Manager allocated to them. These strategic partners are a subset of the above categories, which have been identified based on their competency, business skills, reach in the market, market presence, reach across different verticals and geographies.

Overall, the company has dedicated a huge number of resources for better engagement with the channel ecosystem in India and to increase the base of channel partners for Dell EMC. The channel’s acceptance of our channel initiatives reflects in our Net Promoter Score of 86 by channel partners, which is the highest score in APJ.

Besides the new partner program, what are your other recent channel initiatives?

We are increasing focus on enhancing RoI for partners with Dell EMC. For this, one of the initiatives we have taken is to offer an extended 90 days credit line to partners. Till now, we have extended an estimated $150 million credit line to partners in India.

Moreover, we are enabling channel partners accelerate digital transformation at customer-end with our HaaS (Hardware-as-a-Service) in partnership with Ingram Micro. Focused on SMBs, HaaS helps businesses to shift towards operational expenditure while building out their IT infrastructure from the edge to the datacenter. Our broad portfolio coupled with reach of Ingram Micro with over 18,000 partners and payment options of up to four years will surely bring in affordability to companies of all sizes.

Customers can avail up to 100 percent financing at attractive rate of interest of just 12-13 percent. At the end of the term, customer can pay the residual amount and own the equipments.

In addition, we have also enabled channel with the launch of the new PowerEdge 14th generation servers. These servers are proving to be the bedrock of the modern data centers.

Further, we partnered with SAP to provide ERP-ready servers to enable GST compliance among micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across India. The pre-packaged ‘GST-in-a-Box’ solution will be available to MSMEs through joint go-to-market initiatives across 30 SAP GST solution centers across 15 cities in India.

What are your top channel priorities for the next 12-18 months?

Our channel priorities revolve around channel profitability, right mix of partners, and skill development & training.

We are ensuring that partners make good profits while selling Dell EMC solutions. Our recent Dell EMC Partner Program has been quite crucial with its main objective to increase partner profitability.

At the same time, we are looking forward to a right mix of partners with capabilities in domains like server, storage, networking and software integration. We have simplified the number of product categories from 27 earlier to just 9.

Above all, we are extending tremendous focus on building cross-domain skills among our partners. We are enabling partners to cross-sell and up-sell Dell EMC solutions through string of sales and technical trainings.

In all, our priority is to increase channel contribution to Dell EMC business in India. Currently, channel contributes almost 70 percent of the business as compared to 30 percent three years ago. So, we are on the right path on enhancing channels in India.

Integration of partners is a major piece in any merger exercise, with challenges like partner conflict and segmentation. What were the challenges you faced with India partners?

We didn’t face any challenge during or after the Dell EMC integration. In fact, the integration of the channel partners was very simple process for Dell EMC as 80 percent of those partners were already working with Dell. The balance 20 percent partners (who came with EMC) have now been completely integrated into Dell EMC through our integrated Dell EMC Partner Program.

In addition, we followed a process of status match during the integration, wherein we automatically restored the partner level in the new program. Hence, there was no conflict.

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