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Dell Partners Say The New Mullen-Byrne Channel Duo Is A ‘Win-Win’ For Partners

By Mark Haranas, on CRN.com Nov 27 2017

Partners are bullish about the future of Dell EMC with the new duo [3] of Joyce Mullen at the global channel helm and John Byrne leading the North America commercial sales charge.

Dan Serpico, CEO of San Francisco-based FusionStorm, ranked No. 46 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 list [4] and one of the ultra-exclusive Dell Titanium Black partners, said he sees the Byrne and Mullen appointments as a “win-win” for partners.

“This is a total win-win for the channel,” he said after learning of the executive lineup change. “We now have two strong channel leaders where before we had one. Our Dell business is up double digits, and we are looking forward to another great year working with John and Joyce.”

CRN was first to report on Monday that Dell EMC President of Global Channel Byrne will now run Dell’s North America commercial sales, being replaced by 18-year Dell veteran Mullen (pictured). Mullen, currently senior vice president of OEM and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, will now run the combined EOM, IoT and Global Channels organization.

“I’m excited that we’re going to have someone in that commercial position that is channel friendly and understands the value that the channel can bring like John does,” said Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass. solution provider and Dell Titanium partner. “The commercial segment is a sweet spot for us and for a lot of the partners out there. It’s one of the most important divisions at Dell. The partner community believes strongly in John’s abilities.”

Byrne, who took the global channel job in July 2016, is credited by partners with playing a crucial role in integrating Dell’s and EMC’s partner programs in the wake of Round Rock, Texas-based Dell’s $58 billion acquisition of EMC. Several channel partners said Byrne is a “great friend to partners.”

“I can’t think of anyone that would be better to run that business than John. He is an excellent sales executive who has been a strong partner advocate and has put together a fantastic channel program with tremendous incentives for partners,” said FusionStorm’s Serpico.

Partners said the move would boost Dell’s commercial sales which some report have not been performing up to par lately. Dell confirmed to CRN that David Schmoock, President of North America Commercial Sales for Dell EMC, left the company earlier this year after replacing sales veteran Bill Rodrigues [6] in April.

“The commercial division is not performing the way they anticipated, and they’re looking for new leadership,” said one top executive from a solution provider who partners with Dell EMC that did not wish to be identified. “[Dell Technologies CEO] Michael [Dell] is not happy with how the commercial division is running. He’s been super impressed in the way John just came in and took command of the channel program, and he’s now saying, ‘I need John over here in commercial; Let’s give him another problem to fix.'”

As for Mullen, partners said she has a proven channel track record as the head of the Dell OEM business.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, one of Dell’s top enterprise Fortune 1000 partners, said Mullen had done an “amazing job” in the OEM market working with channel partners like Future Tech.

“Joyce understands Michael Dell’s vision and (Dell President and Chief Commercial Officer) Marius Haas’ channel sales direction. I am sure she will bring an aggressive approach to helping accomplish their vision and goals as she has done in the OEM space,” said Venero. “It will be interesting to see the combined OEM and partner business come together in one organization which should relieve any channel conflict.”

Serpico said FusionStorm has a “fantastic OEM business up and down the entire Dell line” thanks to Mullen.

“I love the fact that Joyce is taking the channel job,” Serpico said. “We have found her to be a great partner in the OEM business with us. She has enormous integrity. She is the kind of person you can count on as a channel friend. Now Dell has another strong women executive in senior leadership alongside Cheryl Cook and others. Dell is getting more diversity in their senior leadership ranks. That is forward thinking and very compelling and great for Dell.”

Mullen has been with Dell since 1999 in various executive positions and had lead the OEM channel partner program that supports thousands of OEM customers since its conception in 2012.

Partners said one of the biggest things on Mullen’s plate is shaping the Dell EMC partner program in the next fiscal year, which starts Feb. 2.

“Joyce and the team will now be putting together the program in for next year, so what the rebates look like, what MDF looks like – all of that will be in her purview now. That will be a big, huge responsibility. We’ll be watching how that evolves,” said Winslow.

In a letter sent Monday morning addressed to Dell EMC’s global partner community, the company explained the executive change and touted channel growth. Dell said half of Dell EMC’s global channel partners are growing year-over-year with 70 percent earning more payout and 33 percent selling more lines of business.

In an interview with CRN, Byrne said one of his top priorities would be aggressively driving partners to grow Dell storage sales, which experienced a mid-single digit decline in orders in the most recent quarter.

“We will aggressively attack the market, gain share, drive improvements and attack services like crazy across all routes to markets. We’re going to attack the living daylights out of all things storage from hyper-converged to arrays,” said Byrne. “Expect all those foundational things we built in the channel organizations to be a ‘rinse and repeat’ into the North America organization. It is the biggest region within our partner community. It’s the biggest opportunity around the globe.”