Inside Dell’s COVID-19 relief package

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Inside Dell’s COVID-19 relief package
Shant Soghomonian (Dell Technologies)

Dell’s recent new financial relief package for its channel partners was announced with typical vendor fanfare, but is the program actually helping in Australia?

CRN spoke to the vendor’s local channel lead Shant Soghomonian to get the low-down on local uptake of the sway of offerings.

On 21 April, Dell Financial Services president Bill Wavro outlined a US$9 billion financial package for partners including zero percent interest rates on some deals.

Soghomonian said the program was based on an extensive consultation process with Dell’s channel partners led by Dell global channel chief Joyce Mullen.

“Joyce had been gathering feedback from key distribution partners in the market as well as some of our key partners to decide how we can help during these unprecedented times,” he said.

The program includes zero percent interest rates on server, storage and networking solutions; up to 180 days deferred payment for datacentre products; and six to twelve month terms on remote working and learning solutions.

In addition, the vendor added a one year term to consumption offerings in itsd Dell Technologies On Demand program.

The company said this would allow partners to scale usage of its converged, hyperconverged, hybrid cloud, storage and data protection solutions and only pay for what they use.

Dell’s Flex on Demand consumption billing model is also now available from three- to five-year terms.

For Dell’s two top partner tiers, platinum and titanium, the vendor is offering a cash payout of up to 50 percent of current marketing development funds (MDF).

Soghomonian said this had been one of the most popular aspects of the program as all the vendor required for approval was a marketing plan.

“Vendors have a whole set of processes around marketing plans,” he said.

“Being able to provide funding up front, or a percentage of the funding up front, without making them jump through hoops makes it a lot easier.”

“We are quickly working to provide money, generate activity, or help with whatever else those funds are for.”

Soghomonian said that training had been another initiative which had seen big uptake from the partner community, particularly among the technical cohort.

“During these quiet times, with engineering resources not being utilised so much, the free service and delivery and service and deployment training has been very popular.

He said there had been particular interest in training courses for Dell’s storage and hyperconverged products. All Dell technologies deployment certification exams are conducted by Pearson Vue.

“The whole idea is we want to have more skills around client services deployment training in our partners especially in the hyperconverged and storage spaces,” he said.

On the sales side, Soghomonian said the vendor had seen interest in Business PC’s, VMWare, monitors and other peripherals.

“We’re using our flexible supply chain to fulfil orders as quickly as possible, exploring all sourcing, production and logistics strategies to best meet our customers’ needs,” he said.

“We’re managing any impact through order lead times. This up-to-date information is visible to customers, partners and our own sales team at the time of order.”

Interestingly, Soghomonian said Dell had not seen a slowdown of new business opportunities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“ Not yet, I think we have all seen that customers have been in shock,” he said.

“As a vendor and with our partners we have been helping clients with their business continuity and component strategies.

“For now we are seeing a lot of opportunity in the market for our partners.”

Despite the obvious demand for laptops, monitors and other work from home suitable devices, Soghomonian said there was considerable interest in datacentre technologies.

“There have been network datacentre performance issues as a result of this shift [to remote work and study].

He explained these were mainly in upgrading capacity of compute and storage within many local datacentres as knowledge workers across the country transitioned to remote work.

Soghomonian also added that the vendor had been in discussions with some customers who were feeling the financial pinch of the pandemic to which deferred payment were attractive.

“Inevitably, the customer still has to pay the lease but if we are able to give a six month period where they can get additional capacity deployed and once things get back to normal we kick the lease off.”

Dell's local channel chief also said there were opportunities to assist customers expand access for their own customers.

“What I am hearing from our partners is that customers are absolutely drawing down on proficiencies to expand helpdesk capacity and other support services."

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