Director, Medium Business, CSMB
How has been the journey of Dell when it comes to storage in the Indian market?
Dell storage has come a long way in the past three years. We have transitioned from being mostly a reseller of storage to becoming a full provider of storage technology and services. The company, as a whole, is transitioning to a comprehensive solutions provider - not just storage - but also including servers, clients, networking and services.
Dell is poised to be the leading storage solutions provider and our acquisitions complement this strategy. Dell's approach is to automate, standardize and reduce complexities, wherever appropriate and possible. We believe in utilizing the right balance of people and technology to get the job done more efficiently. Dell's storage technology and solutions are the key elements of Dell's broader strategy to penetrate the mid to large enterprise.
Tell us about the market size of storage products and your market share in the categories you operate?
We do not disclose numbers, but the promise of Dell in the storage arena can be gauged in our go-to-market strategy. We are poised to be the leading storage solutions provider and our acquisitions complement this strategy.
Dell offers a comprehensive storage IP. The acquisition of Compellent is Dell's latest strategic investment to expand its award-winning, enterprise storage portfolio which includes EqualLogic and PowerVault. Dell helps customers capitalize on the “Virtual Era” by reducing data management costs and streamlining operations significantly. We have been aggressive on the path of acquisitions. It is a key element of our growth strategy to build our enterprise solutions capability. Dell is building and acquiring IP in areas where customer needs are growing the fastest, such as solutions-based technologies - cloud, storage, servers, data center, virtualization, etc. This is a big area of focus for us.
What is the USP of your products versus competition?
Dell mainly scores on three parameters:
1) Dell helps you do your business your way: Dell listens to the customers, and makes it easier to work with them the way you want to work. With Dell's expertise, customer can minimize complexity and offer a customized decision process to identify the right solutions for your business through our end-to-end experience.
2) Dell builds technology solutions that work: You can always count on Dell for rugged products and robust solutions that are easy to implement, operate and service. Solutions that are tailored according to your needs.
3) Dell makes your job easier now and in the future: Dell solutions are designed to grow, just like your company. Dell offers a lifecycle of engagement including assistance in identifying issues and opportunities within your environment support during the purchase process, rapid implementation services to get you up and running quickly, the investments they make in integration and engineering their products to work seamlessly and lastly the proactive maintenance of these solutions.
What role do you envisage of Partner in the deployment and providing services?
Partners play a very critical role, and it is for this reason that the primary objective of our channel program is to deepen engagement with Enterprise partners for which we are investing significant amount of Dell money and resources. In fact, Dell's channel program is focussed on ensuring that the customers get access to the products while making sure that our partners remain profitable. Keeping this in mind, the enhanced PartnerDirect program aligns rewards with education and training and helps position partners for long-term success with Dell solutions. This new structure helps strengthen the solutions we are able to offer and also helps us deliver better value to our customers. This enables partners and Dell to work together better than ever.
What kind of margins/ benefits do your Partners enjoy?
We don't discuss storage margin percentages specifically. But what is important to note is that Dell has recently formed an enhanced structure for channel partners under the PartnerDirect program. It has been designed to expand partner ability to deliver value to their customers and reward them as per their investment in the key Dell solutions.
The enhanced structure for certified partners consists of two new levels - Premier Partners and Preferred Partners. Partners who currently hold any of Dell's certifications - enterprise architecture, networking and security, and systems management - will migrate into one of the Premier or Preferred levels, depending on their level of commitment and training and receive benefits accordingly.
What are the opportunities for channel partners?
As more and more vendors look to enhance their geographical reach, the role of the channel partner is only going to stand out in the coming years. The Indian IT market is still an under-penetrated one and we believe there is a great opportunity for us to work with our partners to offer differentiated solutions, even more in the SMB segment that will have a significant channel play. We are aligning instructor-led classroom training programs and extending online courses to cover more relevant areas. More instructor-led trainings are planned for other partners for their pre-sale representatives. Incentive plans are being aligned accordingly with much higher incentives for both the partner organization and partner sales representatives for selling enterprise solutions.
From a large enterprises point of view, we are seeing financial services, telecom, media, retail and manufacturing verticals as the key growth regions. From an SMB perspective, we have maximum customers from companies in the IT and ITeS space and hence we are increasingly going to focus on that.
How is your service network spread across the country?
We have an efficient and extensive service network that uses common Dell Systems and Tools - few critical details below:
1) Around 1200 trained Field Engineers to service Enterprise and Client Products
2) More than 28000 postal codes are covered
3) 4 Call Centers to receive Customer calls and 15 Centers from where parts are sent to Customers
4) Dell Systems that use Global Best Practices & Tools to offer efficient and consistent support services all over India
What are the expectations from the recently introduced FDA?
Dell's Fluid Data solutions are customer-inspired technology designed for seamless, automated, optimized movement of data from the server to storage to the cloud, helping customers efficiently and flexibly move the right data to the right place at the right time at the right cost. These new solutions demonstrate another addition to Dell's larger initiative to build a Fluid Data Architecture addressing today's storage challenges.
Dell's Fluid Data stands for the outcomes that customers care about in data storage - efficiency, productivity, resiliency, flexibility, scalability, open, connectedness. The brand promise is to solve the most pressing data management and storage problems customers are facing in their data centers.
Dell has developed core design principles that we think will leave all of the legacy storage vendors far behind, such as:
- Right Place, Right Time: The best tiering and migration features in storage.
- End-to-end: Extending storage up in to the server and out to the cloud.
- No Forklift Upgrades: Between peer scaling and perpetual licences, you won't ever have to throw away your investment in Dell storage.
- Maximum Efficiency: It is going to take less space to storage a given amount of data on Dell than on any other platform, with consistent and compatible Ocarina reduplication and best-in-class thin provisioning on every platform.
- Native Cloud Integration: Look for us to have integration with the cloud become a standard feature of every Dell storage product.
- Innovative Licensing: Perpetual and all-inclusive licensing that change the way you buy storage.
- Copilot: The best support and customer success program.
Head - Enterprise and Storage
We have been associated with Dell for more than a year. The current areas of interest within VSM are Storage, Virtualization and Enterprise Computing. We are an Enterprise certified partner for Dell.
Dell has been growing from strength to strength with many acquisitions in the past couple of years. With every acquisition, Dell has been very active in introducing the products to the right partners. Their acquisitions have certainly strengthened their product portfolio. We can conveniently refer customers to Dell who want complete end-to-end solutions. Dell has chalked out a robust channel strategy. Dell empowers channel partners with white papers, training programmes testimony to which is the increased profitability of Dell's channel partners.
Dell has a robust rebate programme which is the highest in the market for Enterprise products which is between 2-5 per cent of the overall attainment. In most of the situations, we see margins hidden in post-sales.
Realtech Computer System (P) Ltd.
We have been associated with Dell for the past three years. Their product range varies from clients to servers and storage. In their nature of business, they see margins coming during pre-deployment.
There are plenty of initiatives undertaken by Dell to help partners. The support function is also very good and we receive the quotes on time. Even at the time of escalation, the support level is tremendous.
Another major change Dell has made is the establishment of the Global Commercial Channel which ensures two big benefits to partners - (1) it distributes benefits to deserving partners thereby improving partner's profitability chances, and (2) gives one single window for negotiation and dealings for partners, irrespective of the BU the product belongs to, which increases convenience.
Dell encourages channel partners to sell on a solution-based approach. They do not stock and sell with channel partners, but sell on a back-to-back basis. There is currently no price protection in India. But Dell has a robust rebate programme which is the highest in the market for Enterprise products which is between 2-5 per cent of the overall attainment.
With Dell going on the acquisition spree, that is not impacting any training efforts for partners. Dell provides us with the right training to sell these products.