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Dell cracks and embraces distribution

by Scott Bicheno on 24 March 2009, 18:41

Tags: Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM), Computer 2000

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The final taboo

When Dell first announced it was going to perform a U-turn on its policy of dealing directly with its customers, it still didn't fully embrace the channel, opting to bypass distribution and develop relationships directly with resellers.

To be fair to Dell, when it announced the appropriately named Partner Direct programme, it didn't rule out distribution. Speaking to at the time, the European channel boss at Dell - Josh Claman - said: "We're not ruling out [working with distribution] but we don't want to introduce layers that don't add any value we couldn't add ourselves."

Well it looks like Dell's found some value in distribution because it has appointed broadline distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data (Computer 2000 in the UK) to distribute Vostro desktops and notebooks aimed at SMBs.

Dell is positioning this move as an enhancement of customer choice, and it was bound to tweak its channel strategy as it learned from its initial experiences, but you have to wonder what this says about the initial success of Dell's foray into the channel.

"Our partners value Dell's ability to custom configure IT, but they're telling us there are times when customers' needs are more urgent, and this agreement shows our commitment to act on feedback from partners." said Greg Davis, VP and GM of Dell's Global Commercial Channels.