By Charles King, Pund-IT® September 21, 2022
As vendors, businesses and end users continue to move to subscription computing services, it is important to understand how this transition will impact third parties, like value added resellers (VARs) and other channel ecosystem members. Why so? Because in many cases, channel partners serve as the main point of contact between vendors and clients, especially smaller and regionally based businesses. Keeping those partners happy is vital to vendors’ bottom lines.
More importantly, since vendors are constantly hunting for new opportunities and have the technical and financial resources required to develop new solutions and business lines, they can also help translate those opportunities into terms that channel partners can understand and support. Last week, Rola Dagher, Dell Technologies’ Global Channel Chief, outlined enhancements to Dell’s APEX portfolio and services that are designed to expand channel partners’ skills and solution sets. Let’s consider these new options.
Challenges for the channel
To begin, what are some of the principal difficulties that channel partners face? Start with the commonplace shifts in the tech industry due to evolutionary improvements in hardware and software, and the regular emergence of new ideas, products and services. Those changes are mirrored by business and process evolution, sparked by competition, markets and regulations.
Enterprises are typically able to anticipate and adapt to these challenges far better than smaller companies. However, virtually all organizations suffer when unexpected events, such as the shocks from the Covid-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and global inflation come into the picture. Again, smaller businesses, including VARs and other technology channel players typically struggle more with these systemic shocks than their vendor partners.
Finally, even the most resilient and proactive organizations need affordable access to training and skills building. In fact, lacking access to such resources inevitably leads to delayed access to and uptake of vendors’ new solutions and services.
In other words, providing adequate support and access to new opportunities is important for vendors, channel partners and end customers. It is hard to overstate the importance of or the value that such programs bring to all of the parties involved. But it is a particularly critical point for companies like Dell Technologies which has noted that partners contribute to over half of the company’s annual sales.
Dell’s new APEX offerings for channel partners
What are the new Dell APEX capabilities that Rola Dagher detailed?
- APEX Data Storage Services – Dell will now enable customers to subscribe to APEX Data Storage Services with or without Dell managed services. This update gives partners the option to add in their own services and also allows customers to choose who manages their day-to-day operations. Dagher described this as “an ideal solution for partners who want to incorporate their own value-added capabilities or whose customers want to manage their own as-a-Service (aaS) experience.”
- APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud – Dell also expanded partners’ ability to develop cloud native apps for APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud environments, creating opportunities to help their customers modernize applications. This benefits partners that want or plan to focus on high-value cloud, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud development while letting Dell manage operations. Additionally, partners that sell IT services in a recurring model, like service providers, can enhance the ways they consume and benefit from ITaaS.
- APEX Private and Hybrid Cloud – Leveraging APEX Private and APEX Hybrid Cloud enables partners to deliver their own managed services and incorporate APEX into broader data center management contracts. Partners can also implement new instance-based offerings so that customers only pay for the resources they need. Dell is also enabling partners to offer their customers a smaller two node, 32-instance configuration threshold (previously, the smallest configuration offered was three nodes and 50 instances) in APEX Private Cloud environments, creating valuable new options for edge computing projects.
- Updated Training and Resources – Dagher noted that as the market is shifting, so too are Dell partners’ business models and their need for new skills, knowledge and capabilities. To this end, the company has created dedicated learning paths for partners on APEX and as-a-Service selling strategies, which can be found on the APEX Learning Center.
What are the essential takeaways from Dell’s announcement? First, it underscores the company’s keen focus on developing and enabling subscription-based offerings via its APEX service portfolio. Second, it highlights the growing importance of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies and solutions for business customers of every size and kind. To that end, it also complements and builds on Dell’s recent strategic collaboration announcement with Red Hat.
Most importantly, the new capabilities Dell announced emphasize the company’s willingness and intention to provide solutions and services to customers as they want and through whatever channels they prefer. Expanding the options and enhancing the skills of channel partners are among the best methods that Dell Technologies can employ to achieve those goals.
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