Dells aggressive moves in recent months to acquire technology companies to fill its own functional holes have created a tangled mess for the companys fledgling channel hopes.
Through its acquisitions, and pending acquisitions of Silverback, EqualLogic, ASAP Software and now Everdream, Dell has also acquired a handful of separate channel partner and MSP (managed services provider) programs. In addition, the company has plans to announce by the end of the year details of its own partner program that it has been developing behind closed doors for the last nine months.
Dell has promised to keep the individual channel programs of the acquired companies intact, a cautious strategy designed to win the trust of the channel partners in those programs. However, some analysts and channel consultants say that approach is a big mistake.
"Ive been concerned about how Dell will integrate these companies into their culture. Dell is acting on the assumption that they have a handle on this and that its not that difficult," said Anne Zink, chief strategy officer for AZtech Strategies, a go-to-market channel consulting group. "They will end up spending way more money than they need to and being far less efficient than they could be."
The approach also risks making Dell much less attractive to the most sought-after, highest-revenue-generating VARs.
"VARs will have to be members of multiple programs, with five different people calling on that VAR," Zink said. That will add complexity to a channel program at a time when Dell is promoting a "Simplify IT" message and will likely freeze the company out of partnerships with the highest-earning VARs, she said.