The pandemic and the resulting disruption in the supply chain, safety concerns and shift to remote have led to many fissures in the tech channel landscape and in their engagement with customers. How are the tech companies protecting their channels from the uncertainty and change?
In this month’s focus on channel strategies, iTNews Asia talks to Ng Tian Beng, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Channel, APJ, Dell Technologies to find out how the company is taking steps to ensure partners can be prepared for the disruption – from remote working to financing and in finding new opportunities.
iTNews Asia: What has been the impact of the pandemic and how is Dell adjusting to the new normal?
The pandemic has significantly impacted organisations in a dramatic way and digital transformation has become key to survival for most organisations as they pivot to remote work and learn arrangements.
We have seen growing demand from our Client Solutions Group (CSG) as people moved to remote working and learning overnight. In 2020, Dell shipped 142,827 PCs, every day – that’s 5951 every hour, 99 every minute, 1.65 PCs every second, every day.
Our partners have and will continue to play a significant role in this pandemic as they fulfil customers’ remote work and learn arrangements through Stock and Sell and who require digital transformation. We believe remote work is here to stay and we have a long history investing in flexible work environments through our Connected Workplace Policy and Program, which supports remote work for our people, partners, and customers.
In such unsettling times, our priority is in ensuring the health and safety of our team members, customers, partners, and communities. Some of the actions we’ve taken include providing enhanced coverage, hospitalisation support, telemedicine, procuring oxygen concentrators and other employee assistance to our teams in India, and arming team members who work on site with the necessary PPEs and safe environments.
We continue to double-down on our commitment to social impact. At Dell Technologies Singapore, we have made championing disability in the community a focal point through our involvement with our charity group, Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS). Despite restrictions for social gatherings, we were creative by spending time with our friends at MINDS by colouring and painting virtually.
iTNews Asia: Have any of your business processes (programmes or business model) changed during the pandemic?
We are focused on helping businesses and governments across the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) region make a strong recovery, advance ahead, and futureproof themselves.
At our Dell Technologies World (DTW) conference, we outlined our ambition to simplify how businesses consume technology. We are providing our portfolio ‘as a service’, so businesses have the flexibility to choose technology services that work best for them and only pay for what they need when they need it.
Our partners are a key route to market – the channel drove 51% of all Dell’s new + reactivated buyers in APJ in Q1 FY22, and we are invested in enabling partner participation for joint success. We enhanced our 2021 Dell Technologies Partner’s Program (DTPP) – with increased opportunities for new customers by providing a more streamlined end-to-end experience. Our partners earned approximately 41% more rebates Y/Y in APJ in Q1 FY22.
We also have an expanding network of Cloud Service Providers (CSP) as we move towards a hybrid cloud world. Storage remains an important focus for our partners. In November 2020, we launched a Dell EMC PowerStore initiative that aims to provide partners with front-end discounts and back-end incentives.
As part of our 2030 moonshot goals, we are also working together with our partners to tackle deep societal challenges. Almost all (95%) of our top customers include social impact for proposals and bid requests. The new Marketing Development Fund (MDF) Spend Guidance is to help partners carry out charitable and non-profit activities with their local communities.
iTNews Asia: What are your customer pain points? How are you helping your channel partners address them?
According to our Remote Work Readiness survey of over 7,000 professionals in APJ, while 81% of employees feel prepared to work remotely, only 46% feel that their employers fully support remote working for the long term. Employers, organisations, and governments need to understand the challenges for remote working. With the heightened interest in remote workforce solutions, we’ve put together a set of solutions across Client Solutions, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Unified Workspace.
Another challenge for partners is financing.
We understand how business cycles can be unpredictable. We have long put in place measures that not only democratises technology, but also to help our partners navigate market shifts and leverage the financing options available beyond just preservation of cash.
- Ng Tian Beng, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Channel, APJ, Dell Technologies
Our partners can discuss their business requirements, whether they are terms extension, or an urgent increase on their credit line. These are enabled through the Dell Technologies Capital Solutions (WCS) programme and Dell Financial Services (DFS) – financing options that can be tailored for our partners and their customers’ technology purchases.
In addition, organisations today are struggling with the amount of data being generated. Adding to this complication, 75% of data will be processed outside of a traditional data centre or cloud by 2025. Customers are also saying that they want more agile and simple infrastructure. This is why we are creating infrastructure that is highly automated, multi-cloud and aaS.
iTNews Asia: What are the trends shaping your partner ecosystem in 2021?
The midrange storage market is ripe with opportunity and we are doubling down on this space. Dell EMC PowerStore has combined all the best features our partners have been looking for from across all current product lines.
We also see opportunity in the multi or hybrid-cloud market. Close to half (47%) of organisations in APJ and China are investing in multi-cloud to enable digital business and multi-cloud is one of the top five tech investments for them.
However, many still struggle with harnessing the cloud for innovation. Partners can help customers unlock the full value of their APEX installations and provide a better-together outcome. Services like last-mile customisation, residencies, data migration, application services, and hybrid cloud extensions from a customer location to a partner data centre are just a few examples of how partners can position themselves for success.
As the region adopts more technology, we also recognise the need to step up and contribute back to the economy. We have taken on the responsibility to upskill and train talent to help bridge the critical tech skills gap, with initiatives like the Singapore tech skills accelerator initiative to empower 3,000 fresh graduates, mid-career professionals and students, and collaboration with Niti Aayog to launch the SheCodes innovation challenge.
iTNews Asia: What will be partner and channel strategy going forward? What are some of the key changes you will make?
The changes we make our channel strategy represent evolution rather than revolution. We believe in the democratisation of IT, and we offer partners maximum flexibility and choice to respond to customer needs wherever their digital transformation journey.
Moving forward, work from anywhere will be the norm for a long time. We expect more than 50% of our team members to work remotely on any given day on a more permanent basis even after the pandemic, leveraging the great benefits we have realised through a technology-enabled remote workforce – and we will continue to help our customers and partners along this journey.
To find out more about how channels on the ground are adapting and redefining their business strategies, read our interview with Logicalis Asia, Accent Micro and Enfactum here.