Tian Beng Ng, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Channels, APJ, Dell Technologies, shares why selling more lines of businesses is crucial for partner profitability and how Dell Technology on Demand is helping partners realize their business objectives. Edited excerpts…
Please highlight how Dell Technology is doing in the current fiscal in APJ?
It’s been going really well. Moreover, I would highlight that the company’s business has grown pretty well over the last two years. Global channels have grown from $43 billion to $52 billion currently. So that is a strong growth of over $9 billion just over the last 2 years. In the first six months of the current fiscal, global channel business grew by 11 percent YoY, and in APJ we have grown at twice that amount at 22 percent YoY. So, obviously we are doing very well in the market.
Profitability has always been a major concern for the partners, so with the enterprise shifting more towards the business outcome, how do you ensure profitability?
We have found that partners that sell more lines of business actually make a lot more revenue, so it’s really important to sell more lines of business for more profit. We encourage our partners to look at Dell’s portfolio, which is our key differentiator with broadest and most innovative portfolio.
Don’t you think that it is contradictory with the trend where lot of your contemporaries has been picking a lot of specialist partners? When you talk about the current enterprise landscape, you require a lot of specialists.
Absolutely, there will always be an opportunity for all kinds of partners but, I would like to point out that a specialist partner does not mean that they have only one line of business. Even if you’re a specialist you can still find space to sell many products. For instance, if you are a storage specialist partner, you can sell various products that go together with any storage solution. Of course, there are some partners who are very specialized and sell a very fine set of products; however, the partners who sell more lines of business generally achieve much profitability.
What would be the commercial business model of Dell Technology on Demand for the ISVs and system integrators?
Dell Technology on Demand is a big announcement we made recently to offer the broadest set of solutions and as-a-service choices delivering consumption-based and as-as service solutions across our entire industry-leading, end-to-end infrastructure portfolio. Dell Technology on Demand covers our full spectrum of offerings – including endpoint solutions for the workforce and infrastructure solutions for the data center, which extend to the cloud and out to remote edge locations. No other company can claim to do all this.
One of our core beliefs is that we want to give customers a choice and the choice extends to the way they purchase our products. While some companies still prefer to buy under the capex model, there is a large trend where companies now prefer the opex model and buy IT as per the demand. With Dell Technologies on Demand, we are proving this flexibility.
How does Dell EMC help the partners in identifying the opportunity in the edge computing, AI, ML, cloud and security?
AI, ML and edge computing are emerging technologies which are finding acceptance among the customers. Talking about AI, we recently launched an AI experience center in partnership with Intel. We opened lot of AI experience centers across APJ including in Bengaluru. The experience centers enable customers and partners do simulations using AI and the underlining infrastructure. This is a concrete example of how we are working with our customers and partners on AI solutions. Similarly, we are enabling our partners implement solutions across other emerging technologies.
What are the fundamental differences between business dynamics of Dell traditional partners and the new cloud partners you have?
Both segments are important for Dell. Traditional partners are obviously doing well but the fastest growing are cloud partners. They form an important set of partners that we work with through ISV Team as part of channel sales team.
The common challenge faced by traditional partners is to improve their skills, which we are addressing through extensive trainings and certification to resell our infrastructure and build solutions. Another challenge is to have accessible liquidity or credit. In fact, we have a solution program in India where we offer working capital or credit to many of our partners.
With a change in the technology purchase pattern of enterprises, how is Dell changing or aligning its partner programs?
One of the big changes we see in the enterprise space is towards IT consumption. That’s why we have launched Dell Technologies on Demand. Another significant trend is around multi-cloud phenomena. Many of the companies are not seeing value in moving all their processes and assets on public cloud due to high costs and security concerns; the trend is towards hybrid cloud.
With our Dell Technologies on Demand we are providing the multi-cloud ability, which means you can not only move your workloads from the private cloud to Amazon and from Amazon to Microsoft. You can do all this movement of workloads using the VMware cloud. This flexibility not only spreads the risk but also offer the optimum performance; most importantly, we don’t want companies to be locked in.
What are the 3 main focus areas of Dell EMC, especially in Asia Pacific in 2020?
Making it easier for partners to do business with us is the most important focus area for us. In order to make the biggest set of satisfied partners, we are making a lot of improvements in our systems and our processes. Secondly, we want partners to sell transformation solutions, which we enable partners to sell. In addition, we expect partners to focus on selling and monetizing emerging technologies like AI.
Many of the partners allege that vendors at times pretend to embrace a partner through different partner programs and deal registrations. But, in reality the core objective of the OEM is to reach out to the customer directly. What is your take on this?
Well, I think there is always a mix of both partner-led and OEM-led customers. However, the important thing is to have robust rules of engagement. At Dell, we have a very strong foundation with deal registration system to govern how we work with partners and direct customers. Hence, for any deal registered with us we verify if the opportunity is new or an existing one. If the opportunity is the new one, we protect it for the respective partner and no other partner can pursue it. And we do take deal registration very seriously.
We really use lot of technology at the back-end but there has to be a balance of using technology and individuality. In a velocity business, we can respond in minutes using technology; however, in the value business we apply technology as well as individual touch. So, we are trying to take the best of both worlds to improve the partner experience.
What kind of retention do you have in your partner ecosystem?
We always assess our partner ecosystem and I think in India our partner base has been increasing as we have been working really well with our distributors to acquire new partners and expand into the Tier 2 and 3 cities. Our growth of over 22 percent is the testimony that our partners are doing good and we have been able to retain our partners well. In the APJ region, Japan is the best performing country for us; India has also been doing well for us. China has not been doing well as a region because of the trade tensions.