Dell aims for the stars with Project Apex

ROLA DAGHER, global channel chief

Dell has a new partner programme: What can you expect?


Dell Technologies has just launched its new fiscal year, refreshed its channel partner programme, and welcomed a new channel chief in Rola Dagher.

Speaking to reporters on a call recently, Dagher says she spent her teenage years in the warzone that was Lebanon, before emigrating to Canada about 32 years ago.

“I always say I’m the proudest Lebanese you’ll ever meet, but the most grateful Canadian.”

She says she was ‘raised in the channel’ for over 25 years.

“Channel is all I know, and that’s been my entire career,” she says, adding that she believes the company’s partners are the foundation for everything it does.

Accompanying Dagher on the call were Denise Millard, SVP, global alliances, and Cheryl Cook, SVP, global partner marketing.

Millard says she came to Dell through the EMC acquisition, and has been with the company for 22 years. “My approach, both with friends and at work, is trust and transparency. These are two foundational elements to build friendships, but also to fulfil partnerships.”

DENISE MILLARD, SVP, global alliances DENISE MILLARD, SVP, global alliances
She adds that she’s passionate about women in the workforce and is focussed on retaining talent and enabling diversity in the company. Millard leads the team that manages the world’s largest strategic outsourcers, system integrators and cloud service providers, and mentions companies like Atos, Accenture and Rackspace.

She says that trends such as as-a-service, 5G and edge computing are reshaping the technology landscape, and the company, and the channel and alliance partners are all at the centre of this transformation.

Cook says the industry is living through three years of digital transformation in three months and its strategy is to help partners grow in both favourable and challenging times. Its programme is also aimed at providing more consistency for partners.

Cook announced that titanium and platinum partners can now transact VMware licensing deals through the new programme, and that it is extending its cloud platform subscription in Europe.

It is further rewarding partners for crosssell, upsell acquisition opportunities as they relate to new business incentives.

Vision for the future

Regarding Project Apex, which was launched at Dell Technologies World in October, Cook says it’s the vision with which the company is bringing its as-a-service offerings to market in response to the ‘overwhelming’ trend and customer demand for flexibility.

Its first offering under the programme will be Storage-as-a-service, which will be first rolled out in North America, followed by Europe and Asia.

Apex provides a simplified way of driving operational management of a multi/hybrid cloud environment.

“We know this will add value and provide a public-like cloud experience on-premise for our partners and customers,” she says, adding she expects it to be a multicloud journey as more products are brought to market.

Partners will be able to resell this solution and integrate into it by having API interfaces with their own marketplaces to ensure they can deliver more flexible consumption models.

“We know and acknowledge that there will be multiple models co-existing for the foreseeable future,” says Cook. “You’re still going to have traditional capex purchases, but clearly there’s a trend of having overarching simplification, and Project Apex will do that.”

CHERYL COOK, SVP, global partner marketing CHERYL COOK, SVP, global partner marketing
Its ‘Flex-on-Demand’ consumption model, meanwhile, is now available in 43 countries.

Millard says the pandemic has heralded an unprecedented pace of change, which means that channel partners and Dell itself are now expected to respond to customer needs quicker. Consumption-based programmes like Project Apex will also free up cash. Dell also has the ability to stand up environments rapidly, and at scale, aided by its subscription and as-a-service models.

Millard adds that the company has been doing as-a-service for over a decade and the partners that have leveraged those resources have grown at a premium over others.

Reaching out

She says it has expanded its Flex-on- Demand programmes around the world, and has raised the rebate incentives at Dell Technologies World in October for referral or resale for Flex-on-Demand to 20 points.

Looking back over the early months of the pandemic, many of Dell’s partners raised concerns over business continuity and financial viability, and while that has largely abated, many requested assistance with digital marketing and virtual selling.

In response, the company made digital marketing guides, virtual sales toolkits and social selling guides available.

These resources also included webinars with the company’s chief marketing officer and marketing executives; it also took its executive briefing online, which reached a far broader audience than in the past. Millard says customer and partner satisfaction scores relating to these events are equal to or better to those held in person, and have been ‘incredibly effective at helping maintain business’.


She expects much of the world to be in a hybrid remote working environment for the foreseeable future, and there’s thus no better time to be in the technology industry.

IDC predicts that by 2023, there will be $6.8 trillion spent on IT infrastructure to support business.

“The timing has never been better and the opportunity has never been greater. The time is now. The new normal for our partners is going to be learning to navigate in this hybrid environment, and leaning into the opportunity that's in front of them," says Millard.

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