Dell Technologies is urging partners to push its Apex multicloud portfolio hard and signalling a new "white label" programme for Dell services.
Project Harmony, as that effort is dubbed, is Dell’s initiative to build a new collaborative services delivery model with partners.
Specifically focused on Dell's professional services - consulting, security etc - partners will be able to integrate Dell Services into their own branded offerings to complement and augment their portfolios.
Dell said partners would maintain total account control, using Dell expertise where and when it was needed.
"Project Harmony will not be a traditional resell model," Dell told partners at its annual conference in Las Vegas. "Instead, partners will purchase Dell capabilities at a discount and embed those services into their solutions."
Dell planned to engage with partners over the next few months to test Harmony's economic models and refine its delivery processes to ensure the programme's success and satisfaction for customers.
Harmony would enable partners to deliver the outcomes customers needed but without requiring them to have all their expertise in-house. They could take advantage of Dell’s expertise and invest elsewhere.
The goal was to have Harmony fully integrated into the next Dell Technologies partner programme release.
Founder Michael Dell told partners at the company's global conference in Las Vegas this week that one of enduring advantages Dell had as a company was the strength of its partner community.
"We have one of biggest ecosystems in industry," he said. "It helps us listen and learn from our customers."
Partners helped Dell innovate, localise and deliver for customers everywhere, Dell said.
"We can accomplish much more together as a team than we can alone," he said. "I see examples of this every single day through the powerful stories of customers doing great things. Because they trust you and they trust Dell, they trust us together."
Asked by global channel chief Rola Dagher what he thought partners should focus on, Dell was emphatic: "Apex!" he exclaimed.
One local Apex user speaking at the confence was Simon Pope, motor vehicle dealership Giltrap Group's general manager of IT operations, who presented a session on how to survive a ransomware attack using Dell Apex data protection.
Dagher said since Dell's conference last year, the company and its partners had made progress in offering customers choice and flexibility with Apex.
Dell with its partners had also collaborated in driving the core business, especially the infrastructure solutions group. Finally, Dell was recognised as Fast Company's 2023 world-changing company of the year for its ESG impact.
She said partners were looking for strong partnerships to solve all of their customers' complex needs, business partnerships to rely on, predictable engagement and - "absolutely" - a profitable return.
Taking the stage, Dell co-chief operating officer Chuck Whitten said Dell was positioned perfectly for this moment in technology, at the centre of all major trends because it had built a business that looked like no one else's, one which was delivering breakthrough innovation.
"The breadth and quality of our announcements over the last couple of days should make you sit up and take notice," he said, listing multi-cloud, edge, security, AI and hybrid work.
Dell's entire strategy was premised on partnership, he said.
"We recognise that solving customer challenges, the toughest problems, requires us to be a the centre of a technology ecosystem," he said. "We cannot solve everything alone."
Partners had expertise, reach and insights that Dell did not.
"This channel represents 50 per cent of our net revenue because we recognise that with a healthy partner community we move faster, we scale faster and we innovate faster," he said.
"We are a proud multichannel company."
Dell's multicloud announcements were a big deal, Whitten said, because In the current macro environment, there was a reckoning going on with cloud spending and cloud predictability.
"It's creating a wave of optimisation discussions. Virtually every CIO that I speak with is reevaluating where their applications live across public clouds and on premise in order to optimise cost and performance.
"They are not going back to unicloud models."
For cost, security, latency, performance and regulatory reasons they were adopting a multicloud approach.
"What our announcments did is provide the building blocks to help customers optimise, to give all of you tools to help them build an intentional multicloud strategy," Whitten said.
Apex in particular unlocked opportunities that would previously been "captive to the public cloud" and to recalibrate customers' strategies at a workload by workload level to optimise their placement.
"It's frankly a conversation that every customer wants to have right now."
Customers wanted a cloud experience everywhere, the ability to configure first and manage all of their IT from a single console, Whitten said. Second, they wanted help shifting the value line in IT.
"They need to stretch every IT dollar and Apex does both."
Increasingly it also meant customers subscribing with managed service and letting partners do their work for them so they could invest their scarce IT dollars elsewhere, Whitten said.
Dell's NativeEdge, meanwhile, was an operations software platform that enabled customers to remotely manage distributed infrastructure and applications. For partners it was a horizontal building block with a common, consistent operating and management experience that stretched across industry verticals.
"It is designed to take advantage of your vertical expertise," Whitten said. "We need you and your customers need you to bring the industry specific use cases and services."
Dell's other key announcements, business AI initiative Project Helium and security play Fort Zero, completed a set of services that could solve "the most pressing challenges" of multicloud, edge, AI, security, and hybrid work and do it with partners.
"Partner want to bring broader set of value added service to customers but can't invest everywhere," Whitten said. "Look to us. Why can't you white lebel our services as your own?"
For partners, this was like having the full spectrum of Dell expertise in their back pockets, he said, allowing them to deliver outcomes customers needed without having to build that expertise in-house.
Rob O'Neill attended Dell Technologies World 2023 in Las Vegas as a guest of Dell.