(Authored by Cheryl Caiola)

As we prepare for the many important conversations at the 2018 Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas, there are two important perspectives worthy of reflection.

First, looking back to last year’s Inspire conference, we were excited and eager for the prospective partnerships and customer engagements awaiting the inevitable success of Azure Stack.  Partners were keen to learn more, and wanted to be able to sell and deploy our Azure Stack solution, in any part of the world.  All of the buzz from Airlift 2017 gave way to customer demand and spurred Microsoft’s OEM partners to action.  With its long history of partnering with Microsoft on hybrid cloud, Dell EMC foresaw the demand and had two development teams deployed – one to support the Intel Broadwell processors - to get to market quickly - and the other to support the Intel Skylake processors - to provide customers with the next generation platform.  This gave Dell EMC an exclusive customer investment protection strategy.  Because we all know that the pace of cloud innovation far exceeds that of traditional hardware and software platforms.  There is always room for improvement and innovation. And Dell EMC continue to lead the way. We can do this because of our HCI (hyper-converged infrastructure) leadership, our history with Microsoft, and our learnings from other Dell EMC hybrid cloud platform offerings.  We anticipated the need for a faster, more reliable means of sustaining the Azure Stack environment, and developed an automated hardware patch and update process which dramatically reduces maintenance time and errors.

All of this matters because our highly differentiated experience and innovation improve customer experience and time to value.

(Fast forward to 2018)  Dell EMC are now solidly in-market with our Skylake based systems, and happy customers.  What did we learn in a year?  We learned that selling and delivering this hybrid solution requires careful planning, training and speedy deployment.  We’ve iterated and improved our sales and presales training to help our sellers more effectively assess customer cloud readiness, identify and qualify appropriate use cases and close deals.  Our deployment teams have the expertise, and now more importantly the experience, to deliver a world-class customer experience that accelerates time to value and competitive advantage. 

We also anticipated the need for flexible financing alternatives that allow customers to consume cloud as an operating expense, and have extended the differentiated and highly successful CloudFlex program to our Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack.

So what’s next?  GROWTH! 

Partners are crucial to our customers’ success.  We are ready to extend the learnings of the last year to our partner community, to reach more customers than ever before. We have the program and resources to execute on a global level to get our partners ramped and ready to meet customer demand, in more Azure-available regions than ever. 

We are excited to announce that beginning in early Q3, Dell EMC partners will be able to quote and order directly through the Dell EMC MyQuotes system.  We will also pilot a deployment enablement workshop for qualified partners to take advantage of our learnings and processes, to extend our reach in more regions globally.  We will extend this deployment enablement to our broad partner community in Q418. 

What will this next year bring?  What will we look back on before Inspire 2019?  We anticipate grand mutual success and a thriving Dell EMC partner ecosystem. 

If you are you ready to partner with Dell EMC to provide your customers highly differentiated value, look for us at Booth #623 at Inspire. I can’t wait to meet you!