In May 2007, we announced the company would explore new ways to reach customers via the channel.  A little over a year ago, Dell launched its PartnerDirect program in the U.S. and later in EMEA to engage the value-added-resellers and systems integrators in the channel.  At the onset, there was a great deal of skepticism of the program and whether Dell, historically known as a ‘direct' company, could work differently and build trust in the channel. 


Since launching a year ago, Dell's partner program has grown to more than 37,000 registered partners worldwide, with over half this number coming outside of North America, and based on last quarter's results the channel generated nearly $12 billion in run-rate revenue. 


With the new business segmentation announced on Dec. 31st, 2008, PartnerDirect is now being run as one-global organization.  Under the leadership of Greg Davis, VP and General Manager of Global Commercial Channels, PartnerDirect is now a global program offering the same benefits to partners worldwide.  Today, our partners can access the PartnerDirect portal in 19 languages in 148 countries. 


We also created a Partner Advisory Council, where we host face-to-face meetings with our partners semi-annually and host teleconferences almost every month.  The Partner Advisory Councils are held in every region, and include special councils tied to our certification paths.  At the core of the PartnerDirect program is the ability to listen and implement changes from the feedback our channel partners give us.  We also solicit partner feedback through a variety of social media tools, including Dell's Channel blog


Channel conflict still exists in some cases and improving deal registration was key for our partners.  Today there is over 70% approval of deals that are registered, and we work directly with partners to qualify deals that might not otherwise meet our criteria.  We examine each conflict on a case-by-case basis to determine what the best solution is for all concerned.


Additionally, when we first began the program we launched with a minimum deal registration of $75,000, and have since changed this amount to $50,000.  We are working on reducing the deal registration minimum even further, based on requests from our partners.   At the start of this program, we had less than 20 deals being registered; today we have over 500 per week.  Additionally, we have been working with partners to extend credit lines and work directly with customers to offer Dell leasing.


Our partner certification efforts are focused on our enterprise architecture, managed services and federal government certifications.  In addition to certification, we offer training programs where we actively work to build our partners' knowledge and experience with our products and services to support their business' growth.  This is an area of focus for us, as we continue to develop and refine our training offerings.  


We've made progress in this first year of the PartnerDirect program, and with a new global organization, we will increase our global initiatives, leverage programs and tools worldwide to deliver further efficiencies, save costs for our partners, and continue to find opportunities to drive long-term growth.