Author: Maria Collier
In February 2018, word reached me that I was going to Dell Technologies World 2018! I was beyond excited, so much so that once I had heard I was politely asked to stop smiling, I was blinding people.
Mark Russell, the Arrow Business Sector Manager for Dell EMC, and I went straight into planning mode as we tried to make this event a reality for as many of our partners as possible. All of the planning finally paid off when the weekend of the 28th of April approached and the combined Arrow team, staff and partners started to board planes in the North and South of England to head for Las Vegas. New contacts and relationships started to form on the plane; I was quickly racking up a decent number of new LinkedIn contacts.
You just never know who you will be sat next to, all it usually takes is a friendly gesture and that can start a very interesting encounter. In my opinion we don’t do it enough, it’s the head down on the tube mentality (or the umpteen people I literally bump into in the city on my walks between meetings as they’re glued to their phones) don’t make eye contact and god forbid anyone speaks to you.
Of course, no one wants to solicit unwanted conversations but I have always found these very to be rare occasions. In my case, I was sat next to the VP of Sunguard (a sponsor at the event), who in turn introduced me to all of his team and combined with chatting to our partners that were accompanying us. Before I knew it, I had taken my first step on US tarmac.
We quickly arrived at the Venetian hotel, the scale of which is beyond comprehension until you are stood up looking at the Frescoes that adorn the ceiling, these were canvases painted by Italian artists. Then you are drawn to the Colonnade which was hand-fitted with imported Italian marble to perfectly replicate the three-dimensional pattern on the floor of the Church of Santa Maria del Rosario in Venice, who knew it was so architecturally stunning. The hotel is linked under one roof to The Palazzo, making it the largest hotel in the world. It needed to be with 14,000 people about to descend upon it and I think I got off lightly with my room only being a 10-minute walk away.
Due to exorbitant flight costs on the Sunday, we had arrived with a day to acclimatise, so we had time to explore and take full advantage of everything Vegas had to offer. In no particular order, Mark and I, alongside our customers, clocked up 28,000 steps (13.5 miles) basically walking the strip top to bottom and experiencing the fountains at the Bellagio, sunset on the 70th floor of the Delano hotel, the Piano bar in New York New York, line dancing in Gilley’s, a helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon and flying over the Hoover Dam, just wow!
Then it was time to register, the process was seamless and I came away with my event pack, a new hoodie and rucksack - Dell EMC do not do things by half. Oh and my pass, which I was told if I lost it I’d have to pay $1500 to replace it, so I even slept with it on!
At this point, I’m going to split my highlights into sections for fear of losing the audience, this could turn into a mini novel. So firstly…
- Being there when they announced the “fastest storage product in the world” PowerMax, the newest VMAX evolution.
- XtremIO enhancements, finer granularity, up to 55% lower cost, native replication.
- Having a preview of the new Dell EMC MX modular chassis.
- Two new 14G Servers, positioned for analytics, AI and Machine Learning.
- The launch of Dell EMC’s Ready stack. As an alternative to buying Dell EMC's pre-bundled hyper-converged offering, partners now have the option to integrate their own converged stack through combining the vendor's server, storage and networking products.
- The launch of MyRewards. The new programme is an opt-in, points-based rewards scheme for sales representatives and systems engineers, and replaces Dell EMC's current Partner Advantage and Sell and Earn programmes. Up to $10,000 is up for grabs for selling modern infrastructure, $20,000 for cross selling data protection and $30,000 for net new accounts or competitive swaps. Rebates could total up to $60,000 per deal, split between sales representatives and systems engineers. The programme has been simplified, it is more agile and it is a global initiative, it sounds good to me!
- A promise from Joyce Mullen, Global Channel President, that Dell EMC’s deal registration process and price quoting will become faster and more accurate, they are listening!
- Being in the front row when Michael Dell was delivering his keynote and his vision of the future.
- Meeting my US counterpart Michelle Baker.
- Being nominated for an Excellence in Marketing award, the only nominated party from the UK.
- Meeting the therapy dogs in the community area and listening to the stories of how they positively affect the workplace, that was quite something.
- Hosting an Arrow partner dinner, supported by our Dell EMC representatives, in the private room at the Golden Nugget, the oldest casino in Vegas. We all left far more acquainted after that dinner.
- The event sparked a personal best in terms of social media hits with LinkedIn appearances and views, social media at its best!
- Seeing Sting perform live.
- Learning to line dance in Gilley’s (BADLY).
- Learning how to jive, slight improvement!
- The standout person for me was Mark Russell, he was host extraordinaire and all of the partners agreed. His inclusive, professional and passionate approach, combined with a natural ability to look after people (including me) left our partners with a clear understanding of the many benefits that come alongside working in partnership with Arrow and Dell EMC.
- My other two colleagues also deserve a special mention, Anthony Dobson for your networking, support and leadership, you really are the voice of reason and you also get the award for “best dressed”. Jon Laycock, the award goes to you for the most attended sessions, unbelievable, and your ability to absorb all of the messaging, and articulate it so that someone like me can understand it and take that message to market. I already knew that I was part of a great team, but this trip reaffirmed that for me! I cannot mention on here the award I was given but feel free to email me and I will divulge.
- My thanks go to the Dell EMC people, to those I knew I now know better, for those I met too many to mention. A big thank you for your hospitality, company and for hosting our partners and our team!
- The unsung heroes, the people who ran the event, nothing was left to chance and given the scale, I found it incredibly easy to navigate my way around the event and that was due to the people onsite being so knowledgeable and organised in their approach.
Saving the best til last, our partners were great company, good fun and completely up for making the most of the experience. Thank you for making the trip so memorable. I pretty much have meetings or calls lined up with all of you; I look forward to seeing you very soon and helping you to realise your goal of forming a lucrative partnership with Arrow and Dell EMC.
However, please don’t take my word for it, here are a couple of partner observations.
“For me the value of such a long trip is the connections that can be made. Arrow proved to be superb hosts, generous with both their time and introductions. We are a relatively new Dell partner and gaining a better understanding of their current and future plans and growing importance as a channel player was essential. The thing that I will take away most of all however is what a great bunch of people Arrow has and Maria, Anthony, Mark and Jon were a pleasure to spend time with.”
James Yates, Commercial Director, Highlander Computing.
Arrow is truly a great place to work and Dell EMC is an amazing organisation to work with, I couldn’t feel any more privileged than I do right now.