Back in May, I wrote about Dell's growing focus on services as a way to win more SMB business. Mentioned in that post were two ways for Dell to expand its service offerings: recruiting channel partners leery of working with service-oriented giants like HP and IBM, and beefing up remote management capabilities through acquisitions of companies like Silverback Technologies.
It doesn't take a genius to see the tension inherent in the two strategies. Through its investments in remote management, Dell could find itself competing with its channel partners.
That's exactly what has happened, according to a scathing editorial by Channel Insider Publisher Lawrence M. Walsh. According to the editorial, Dell is now selling direct-managed services to SMBs with fewer than 499 seats in the metro Dallas and New York City areas. The move "has likely erased any trust and goodwill the company has built since re-entering the channel a little more than a year ago," writes Walsh.
Dell has a history of tenuous relations with its channel partners, writes Walsh. Interestingly, Walsh makes it sound as if Dell has not offered its partners the opportunity to resell Dell services. However, according to Tom Roberts, Dell's global manager of channel services marketing, partners in both Texas and New York do have that opportunity. Dell also encourages partners to register deals, to relieve any worries about Dell poaching customers.
Roberts tells ChannelWeb:
Our direct sales efforts are looking to work with those customers who are working with Dell directly. For customers that have an existing channel partner relationship, we are looking to honor that relationship.
Dell sales representatives will consult a list of certified Dell partners to avoid calling on prospects with existing relationships with those partners, adds Roberts. Dell intends to expand its managed services program to other cities, according to the article.