Anil Sethi, Vice President & GM, Channels India, Dell Technologies

Exclusive Interview: Anil Sethi, VP & GM, Channels India, Dell Technologies

In an exclusive interaction with DQ Channels, Anil Sethi, Vice President, and GM, Channels  India, Dell Technologies shed the lights upon Dell’s GTM, channel partner strategies, focus verticals and Future roadmap for 2019.

What is your Go-To-Market strategy?

Channel partners, system integrators and distributors have played a critical role in empowering Dell Technologies customers on their path towards digital transformation. The Dell Technologies Partner Program has been instrumental in ensuring profitability and scale for all our partners in India and across the globe. We believe that the partner program will further catalyse our go-to-market strategy and business growth. We are committed to becoming the industry’s most trusted advisor to our customers. Our portfolio is well equipped on both sides of infrastructure with desktops, notebooks, server, storage, and other assets within Dell Technologies family like VMWare, Pivotal. This comprehensive portfolio helps in meeting the business outcome when we sell to a line of business.

We really want our partners to make the transformation from just being a hardware reseller to reselling solutions that meet business objectives. They may not be able to move 100 percent in quick time but they can at least start the journey. It will be a good start for partners to sell more lines of business at their customer end, for example, they can sell storage or networking products than just selling a server. We would like our partners to give us candid feedback. While we are doing well in our results, we definitely do not want to be overconfident. We remain humble, as we want to hear the feedback as there might be many things we still need to improve on.

What are the recent developments in the company?

The biggest trend that Dell Technologies sees is the cloud getting mature as a technology and becoming a stable revenue stream for customers. I believe organizations are now moving towards technologies like multi-cloud and hybrid clouds and that is where Dell Technologies’ business focus would be for the coming year. Companies are beginning to move their workload both across the different public clouds and from the public to private, which is one of the biggest trends happening now. The other big trend happening in terms of technology is hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) which continues to grow very rapidly. In fact, recently when Dell announced its earnings results, we shared that we shipped over a billion dollars’ worth of VXrail since we launched and it has grown triple digit last year. The message to partners is how they can add great value at the customer end as new models and changed buying methods evolve faster. We believe around 50 percent of the traditional way of buying IT infra will change and channels need to shift gears to fulfill these needs.

Which are the verticals going more? Which regions are you targeting now?

Multi-cloud and hybrid cloud could definitely be in the top trends, as we see organizations not adhering just to AWS, but rather moving away and trying for new opportunities. Multi-cloud, as in not holding on to one open cloud supplier, but rather moving between various ones. A hybrid cloud, as in just not putting it on open but rather moving between open cloud and on commence. We would need clients to utilize VMWare as the control to move the remaining workload between various clouds and furthermore among open and private too.

People have been for long opposing this change but there have recently been multiple announcements and affirmation to this big trend. In the hope of a bigger and prevalent world of hybrid cloud, Dell Technologies, for many years has been predicting this to accelerate further and provide relevant services to its clients.

Majority of the companies and organizations have recently been focused towards the multi-cloud and hybrid cloud. They have realized that it’s not just about keeping your data on-prem, but it’s about the combination of both. In emerging countries like India, many channels tend to be more infrastructure focused. Hence, there is a dire need for partners to move from being a pure infra selling company to transform themselves to address new trends of multi-cloud, hybrid cloud, and consumption model.

In one of our recent report, ‘Realising 2030: A Divided Vision of the Future’, the company has also found out that a majority of businesses in the region are working towards transforming their businesses with technology at its core. Sensing this, Dell Technologies is well ahead in preparing its India partners as well as those from other markets in this region, so that they can solve their customers’ complex digital challenges. The channel partners can use emerging technologies like sing AI to pre-empt customer demands; delivering hyper-connected customer experiences through VR; using R&D to drive their entire organisation forward; completing their transition to a software-defined business and delivering their product offering as a service.

What is your channel strategy?

We have been consistent with our channel strategies, which are very critical for the partner’s success. We are seeing our partners engage in more meaningful end-to-end conversations. The fact that we differentiate with the breadth of our portfolio, from the edge to the core, and to the cloud, is resonating very well with the channel ecosystem. Today, we work with all major partners in India and we see that trust and comfort of partners growing every year.

We are starting to see significant interest in AI, machine learning, augmented reality and IoT; and we will be working with partners across the spectrum of these emerging technologies. Nevertheless, the traditional PC, servers and storage segment continued to see healthy growth in the channel business.

 What is your existing channel partner program?

We have recently revealed the changes made to the channel program this year with the vendor looking to make it easier for partners to achieve gold status. We have asked our partner community to stay the course with the vendor’s global partner program. The more significant refinements include a further simplified market development funds (MDF) process, the addition of more products to the company’s rebate programs, and a reduction in the number of trained employees need to achieve Gold status.

 We believe that constant refinements to the partner program are needed, most of which are fuelled by partner feedback. The benefits of the program are consistent but we have made enhancements based on feedback. The vendor has gold, platinum and titanium tiers which channel partners can reach by gaining revenue, training and services targets.

In addition to a revamped MDF Tool homepage, we have to simplify our MDF by moving to one Dell Technologies payment process. This means no more multiple payments for a single claim. MDF rates will also be aligned to product categories instead of having one rate for its Client Solutions Group and another for Infrastructure Solutions.

We have heard our partners loud and clear and we hope this change allows more partners to achieve the gold standard and financial benefits

 What are the business expectations and targets that you have to set out to meet in Indian and Market outside India?

Dell Technologies has continuously focused on emerging technologies and innovations to bring in the maximum growth for its channel partners. Some of the top technologies that will be in the focus for 2019 are multi-cloud, hybrid cloud where companies are considering both for a rather robust data storage. Apart from the obvious technologies like artificial intelligence and virtual reality, software-defined everything (SDx) and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) also will be amongst the focused technologies.

Our partners can add great value to the customer end as new models and changed buying methods evolve faster. According to our recent Digital Transformation Index study, we found that 91% of leaders in India feel that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout their organisation as compared to 84% in 2016. While 48% say that they will struggle to meet the changing demands of customers within five years if they do not transform, 25% fear they will be left behind completely. Also, we believe around 50 percent of the traditional way of buying IT infra will change and channels need to shift gears to fulfill these needs.

 What are the company’s future plans?

Driving innovation is a key priority across all of our R&D setups in India and is at the heart of Dell’s transformation journey fuelling global growth. India R&D is at the core of Dell’s enterprise strategy. The India R&D team now contributes towards a full cycle of innovation on Dell’s enterprise future-ready solutions: Storage, Server & Networking.

We see a huge potential specifically in the government and public sector, on the back of investment being made in Digital India. We have added value through our solutions and diverse product portfolio. We are seeing a good momentum on several smart city projects being implemented in partnership between various state governments and enterprises across the country. GST Network, for example, is built on our stack. The recent Central Board of Excise and Customs revamp of the infrastructure is on our stack. Aadhaar has a large deployment of our storage and server products. We are playing a very active role, taking a partnership-oriented approach.

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