Dell nabs former Hewlett Packard VP Marius Haas

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New recruit is signal of Dell’s channel reliance

Dell’s appointment of former HP-senior VP Marius Haas signifies a major strategic move in the channel for the once 100 percent direct firm.

Dell announced today that it had appointed Haas as president of it Enterprise Solutions division, an area that is pivotal to Dell’s future success as it makes the trot with other rival vendors away from PC sales and towards software and services.

Aside from being something of a departure for Dell in appointing external staff in senior roles, the addition of Haas is interesting in that he spend considerable time at one of Dell’s major rivals, HP.

Haas served as a senior VP and worldwide general manager of the HP Networking division, where he tripled annual networking revenue, and had previously been employed as senior VP for Strategy and Corporate Development.

Although Dutch national Haas was not directly snapped up from HP, he moved on from the firm only in 2011 after years of employment.

According to Canalys analyst Alistair Edwards, the appointment of the former HP senior staffer is a strategic move for its channel.

“It is probably one of the reasons that Dell appointed him, in that he has had channel oriented roles in the past so will have relationships with channel players,”  Edwards says.

“Dell’s big struggle is to actually build the kind of channel-centric culture internally, when it remains such a direct-centric organisation.

“One way to change this is to bring channel-centric people at a senior level to drive that plan through the organisation.”

Taking someone from a very channel centric organisation, who has been heavily involved in HP and other channel oriented centres in the past, makes sense from Dell’s perspective, he says.

Dell may have switched to a channel sales model back in 2008, but shifting a company of that size takes time, and appointing an HP veteran like Haas could help speed things along.

However, Edwards does not believe that this will involve HP partners jumping ship and head over to Dell, even if that might be what Dell would hope.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a component of that thinking,” he says.

“Whether it will attract HP partners to Dell, I think that comes down more to regional level, country level, and personal relationships between Dell’s channel account managers and partners on the ground.”

“I don’t think he in himself will bring new partners on board for Dell, what he can do is to drive through the change in corporate thinking within Dell and support the strategy that they are trying to put in place, which is to double their channel revenue within a few years and those kinds of things.”

HP told ChannelBiz UK that it was not commenting on the appointment of Haas.

Regardless of the impact on its rival’s channel, the move is certainly illustrative of one thing; the importance that Dell places on the channel in its future, particularly with dismal results for its PC division dragging down today’s financials.

“What it does show is their success in enterprise will be very dependent on their ability to build a powerful and credible base of channel partners who are highly skilled in datacentre and solutions and software and services,” Edwards says.

“The fact that their PC business in under so much pressure kind of accelerates the need for them to do that.”

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