Dell's Richard Lee says channel partnering is not something that can happen overnight. The journey entails understanding each other better so as to value-add to the customer ecosystem, explains the Vice President, Global Commercial Channel, APJ.
What role do channel partners play in a vendor ecosystem?
Channel partners play an important role in the vendor ecosystem. They contribute towards Dell's value proposition to its customers in the following ways:
- Providing on-the-ground insights
o Channel partners are in touch with customers across a variety of industries directly. As such, they are able to give Dell the opportunity to understand customers and what they want better. As channel partners often work with more than one vendor, they are also able to provide insights into the solutions available in the market.
- Extension of offerings
o Channel partners play a role in extending Dell's offerings, making us a true end-to-end solution vendor through additional hardware, software, services or solutions.
- Economies of scale
o Channel partners provide vendors with better economies of scale. There are times when the organisation's size or request does not warrant a vendor's participation. This is when the right local partner, with the appropriate expertise and resources, can help in providing Dell with extended coverage to customers. This is especially so in large geographical markets such as China and India.
o Technology is changing extremely quickly today. Partners benefit Dell by communicating news and know-how of new technology solutions to customers through word of mouth.
Channel partners are no different from Dell's own employees. They complement the entire value chain that we offer to our customers.
What makes a good channel partner? Do you have an evaluation process in place?
I think the idea of a 'good channel partner' is subjective, because what is a good channel partner to Dell may not be a good channel partner to our competition. We choose channel partners based on how the partner and Dell can work better together to create value for the customer.
We have various types of partners in our partner programme, PartnerDirect. Firstly, we have global system integrators, who can be considered strategic partners that we plan to continue working with in the mid-to-long term. The second category of partners is our select and mid-market partners that have territorial expertise. The third category of partners is those that work with us on a project basis. We also have a range of premium partners, who are our best-in-class partners, working well with Dell and providing us with business leads.
All partners are evaluated for their financial health, their commitment to the business, their alignment with Dell in terms of go-to-market strategy, and finally, their willingness to develop in terms of the competencies that Dell wants to be best in class in. Every partnership we start is a step in the right direction towards meeting the right customers with the right solutions.
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