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Q&A: Partnering is a journey

Zafar Anjum | Aug. 2, 2013
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.

One partner in Asia Pacific that has benefited from their alliance with Dell is Centrin-FuTong in China. Together with Dell, Centrin-Futong was able to win the Ancai Hi-tech ERP system upgrade project. Centrin-FuTong cited how Dell's Global Commercial Channel program played a crucial role in its win, through the seamless communication channels as well as the setting up a platform to provide comprehensive information to both partners and customers. Centrin-FuTong was also able to increase their capabilities, adding Dell's product line to their own. 

Owning to Dell's recent transformation, did you have to shift gears in your partner strategy?

Regardless of Dell's transformation strategy, it is a fact that IT is playing an increasingly important role in the way customers do their business. There is a need to shift gears in our partner strategy, to increase our coordination with partners globally.

For instance, we launched the Online Solutions Configurator (OSC) in APJ in July 2013. The OSC allows partners to create multipart, customised enterprise solutions for their customers in an easy, collaborative and intuitive way. This tool helps in saving time for both Dell and the partner community, by making sure that we are getting the proper solutions out to our customer. Additionally, the OSC increases the transparency between Dell and our channel partners, ensuring they are aware of the full breath of solutions Dell offers.

However, I need to emphasise that partnering is a journey, it is not something that can happen overnight. This journey entails us to understand each other better so as to value-add to the customer ecosystem. Therefore, there are some things we need to step up on, in terms of solution offerings, resources and training programmes, but there are certain things that we need to spend sufficient time on, such as building strong, longlasting relationships.

Dell has been most successful in its direct sales model, and while the direct model is an important way to engage the customer, the market is big enough for channels to play an important role.

What is Dell Engineers' Club? Does it have an APJ connection?

Dell is the best in class in terms of engineers and consultants, and we wanted to share our expertise and knowledge with our partners. The traditional way would be to conduct classroom training or organising product launches. However, with the speed that technology is improving, we want to be able to update our partners in real-time.

The Engineers Club is a platform for selected engineers to gain excess to additional resources, information and participation in exclusive reviews. It was designed as a three-party think tank for IT vendors, engineers and typical users to feedback industry demand and conduct discussions on advanced technologies and applications. It was first launched in China and was most recently introduced in India in January 2013. This programme is invested in the development of the technical expertise of individual engineers. We have received overwhelming response thus far, with over 500 members since its inception.


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