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Dell Technologies partner strategy persists during pandemic

Coming out of mixed first-quarter results, Dell Technologies said it plans to stay the course with its channel partner strategy.

Dell Technologies' partner business has successfully maneuvered the complex economic conditions wrought by the pandemic, according to a company channel executive.

Like many other technology vendors, Dell Technologies ramped up support for partners over the past few months. In early April, Dell announced a partner relief package, which included additional flexibility around market development funds and fee-waved training. Partners and customers could also tap into $9 billion in financing available through Dell Financial Services and new options such as 24-month financing terms on servers and select storage offerings.

Cheryl CookCheryl Cook

The global conditions had a mixed effect on Dell's fiscal year 2021 first-quarter earnings, but overall, the company is pleased by its channel partners' performance, said Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global partner and embedded and edge solutions marketing at Dell.

"Even navigating through unforeseen and unprecedented times, we were able to drive some positive growth," Cook said.

First-quarter channel stats included the following:

  • Channel orders grew 6% year over year.
  • Partners' client product orders were up 12% year over year. Cook said Dell saw a surge in demand for client technologies as customers pivoted to enabling remote workforces.
  • Partners' server orders were down 3% year over year.
  • Storage orders dropped 10% year over year.
  • VMware orders increased 89% year over year
  • Dell Technology partners delivered about 15,000 net-new customers.
  • Dell issued more than 15,600 partner credentials.

Cook said the drop in server and storage sales reflected the fact that many customers and their data centers were forced to close. She added other customers put their infrastructure data center deployments on hold.

"I think relative to the market and relative to [Dell's] competitors, we are very pleased with our performance. I think our differentiated supply chain served our partners and customers well," she said.

Since the launch of the Dell EMC Partner Program, Dell has promised to maintain a consistent channel strategy. Cook said the pandemic hasn't changed its approach.

"I find that our strategy, both at the corporate level and the channel partner level … is not changing. Our strategy is spot on," she said. "In good, positive times and in unplanned, unforeseen, challenging times, when your strategy is right, it's validating."

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