Dell’s Dilemma is our Dilemma Too

June 15, 2008 – 10:20 am

After attending a boardroom meeting with several newly acquired Dell Direct Reseller employees at the Gartner IT Channel  Vision event I walked away with more questions than answers.   I understand the priority for Dell is shareholders first, customers second and partners third.  Clearly there is mixed opinion among us in the channel/community about as to if we, their resellers and potential resellers, weigh the risk and rewards of helping Dell accomplish their goals.  Does the end justify the means?  While I’ve shared my opinions in the past, today I will offer up the solicited opinions of others.  Enjoy the quotes and have a great weekend!

Dell’s Quotes:

“We are evolving here at Dell.  While our DNA is Direct, we want to learn how to properly engage the channel.  We believe our recent acquisitions of Silverback, ASAP, Everdream and Message One not only give us a complete services offering but they also give us an injection of reseller experience.”   - Dell Channel Sales Rep at Gartner IT Channel Vision

“That is correct, you can only register deals with a minimum value of $50K.  And Yes, we do plan on offering Managed Services directly to small businesses.”  - Dell Channel Sales Rep at Gartner IT Channel Vision

Correct!”  was Dell’s answer to my question of, “So if we close a hardware deal with a customer, there is nothing stopping Dell from attempting to sell services directly to that customer?”

Dell Reseller Quotes:

If I am doing such a poor job at designing and managing my clients’ systems that they have any interest in doing business with Dell directly, then shame on me. I will continue to recommend and resell Dell products and services as long as Dell makes it easy for me to deliver a good value to my clients.”  - David Schrag, SCHRAG, Inc.

Are we providing the right solution to our clients or are we worried about our own revenue streams and perhaps not selling the right technology because of “the DELL factor”, again I state when you invest in the relationship it doesn’t matter who knocks on the door, if it is DELL or Joe’s Computers, if you don’t have a strong relationship you will lose the business anyway.” - Stuart Crawford, MVP, SBSC PAL

Anti Dell Partnering Quotes:

Dell has never missed a chance to try to put anyone and everyone who has attempted to partner with them out of business. Need I say more?” - Chris Rue, MVP, CEO Black Warrior Technology, LLC

Service Providers continue to be confused and concerned by Dell’s channel strategy, as it appears Dell wishes to charge its MSP Partners as much as ten thousand dollars to qualify for the privilege of being competed against – where’s the partnership in that?”  - Erick Simpson, MSP University

It never ceases to amaze me how blind the folks in the SMB Channel are. Dell took the profitability out of the PC market  and forced them to reinvent themselves, yet they still flock to sell Dell PC’s & servers. Now Dell is on the brink of a repeat performance this time with services, and they are lining up to be bitch slapped again. - Andy Goodman, SBS-MVP

The executives from Dell at the Gartner show also wanted a partner Joining feed of 5K to get on the Dell MSP program at the entry level or 10K for the premium MSP package for training and a hardware kit that they make you buy! Even if you already have a MSP model in place you need to be retrained to do things the Dell way.

Plus they told us in our board room that all support would be handle by the inside Dell support team here in the USA and backed by inside sales team for hardware and software upgrades or replacements. You have the option to handle sales but they admit inside sales has the right to call the customer as well. Plus Dell would have full access to all your customers data from the MSP model.  NO Thank You!” - Mark Rhodes, President of PC Direct, Inc.

Quotes That Make You Go Hmm…:

“One of Dell’s problems is that they are under a much more powerful microscope that any other OEM when it comes to channel activities.  Their other challenge is the channel has to view Dell as both a large OEM and a large reseller since they reseller many of the same 3rd party products as they do – adding value close to the customer will help differentiate smaller resellers from large players such as Dell.”  – Tiffani Bova, Research Vice President, Gartner

Dell isn’t hiding their plans.    I think it’s naïve to say that there aren’t other big name vendors out there that wouldn’t love to have the customer relationship directly for themselves.    At least they are up-front about it.    You clearly know where you stand and they have set the rules of engagement.     As a solution provider, it’s your job to understand what your options are and deliver higher value than your competition can.   You do that, and you win.  You don’t, and you lose.     You can’t say you don’t know where you stand with Dell. “ - Dave Sobel, CEO, Evolve Technologies

“HP has Greg Starks, a real world techie who got his SBSC status at night on his own time and works the floor at trade shows. Dell does not have a Greg Starks!” - Harry Brelsford, CEO, SMB Nation, Inc

“Dell approaches us often but I’m not about to switch to the flavor-of-the-month when we have a lot invested in our relationship with HP.”  –

Jane Cage, Partner,  Heartland Technology Solutions

Which is why our company focuses on service and is hardware agnostic” - Vlad Mazek, MVP, CEO Own Web Now

“I’m buying HP. Better hardware because right now that’s where I see their focus is. If Dell wants to become the next IBM and get their money mostly from services, that’s their prerogative, but it’s showing in their hardware lines and lack of attention to that focus.”   - Susan Bradley, The SBS Diva

What issue?  This is a free country and everyone can run their business the way they want as long as it’s legal. After all, this is America right?

Are Dell’s actions inconsiderate? Like any other business, Dell is looking to expand market share. This is nothing personal.

I used to be a Dell reseller when I still had my consulting practice, and yes, Dell did call my customers. Did I lose business? No. Did I make Dell sign a non-compete before I sold their hardware to my clients? No. Did I continue to sell Dell? You bet.

The way I look at it, that’s just business. If it’s not Dell today it will be someone or something else tomorrow. This business keeps you on your toes in more ways than one, and all you have to do is to chose what you spend your energy on - being a smart business person or being a luddite. ” - Beatrice Mulzer

I’m interested to hear your opinion?  Please comment or blog and link back.

  1. 8 Responses to “Dell’s Dilemma is our Dilemma Too”

  2. Hi Everyone

    My HTG10 group is hosting a call with Greg Davis on Tuesday afternoon at 3 PM Eastern. I look forward to hosting this call and hearing the message right from Greg directly.

    Stuart Crawford
    IT Matters Inc.

    By Stuart R. Crawford on Jun 15, 2008

  3. Harry’s quote, “a great rep on the floor,”, see this posting,

    Dell has every right to compete in the space, if they drive the consulting space down to a commodity that competes on price then Dell will lose too.

    David’s right, maintain the relationship with the client and continue earning their trust. If Dell starts making desktops and servers that aren’t reliable, price effective etc. I know David and myself would quickly select another vendor.

    Don’t fool yourself, HP will also enter the MSP space as will every other vendor known to man.



    So based on the fear I’m seeing in the channel we should stop recommending internet from Comcast, stop recommending AT&T for internet or cellular, stop selling Dell and stop selling every other product on the planet for fear they might compete with us.

    Bottom line find the right products and solutions that provide the right fit for your client and keep reinforcing that total solution and you will be just fine.

    Brian Williams

    By Brian Williams on Jun 15, 2008

  4. Hell Yeah and Amen Andy

    By James Wirth on Jun 15, 2008

  5. I am amazed that not one person cared enough to comment on this important topic!

    Maybe they have all gone back to school, is flipping burgers 101 over booked already?

    By HandyAndy on Jun 17, 2008

  6. I think Dell’s quest to please partners and shareholders go hand in hand. Dell will only increase profits and lift its share price if the company embraces and rewards partners.

    Joe Panettieri
    Editorial Director

    By Joe Panettieri on Jun 20, 2008

  1. 3 Trackback(s)

  2. Jun 15, 2008: Wasting Time with DELL debates - Stuart R. Crawford
  3. Jun 15, 2008: » Dell, who’s the fairest of them all?
  4. Jun 18, 2008: Don’t blog and ask for comments… « SMB Thoughts by Brian Williams

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