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WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh comments on partnership with Dell EMC's Michael Dell

WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh comments on partnership and bidirectional channel innovation with Dell EMC chairman and CEO Michael Dell.

Posted by CRN on August 7, 2017:

Last spring, in the midst of the merger of Dell and EMC, World Wide Technology CEO Jim Kavanaugh on a whim sent a last-minute invitation to Michael Dell.

In an email, Kavanaugh reached out to invite the Dell chairman and CEO to meet with him and other members of WWT's board while they were in Austin, Texas, for another meeting.

"We said, ‘Michael, you're probably swamped, but we're going to be in town for the next two days and if you're interested in coming down and spending a couple hours with us, we could chat about what you're doing and hear your thoughts,'" recounts Kavanaugh, who is also a co-founder of St. Louis-based WWT, No. 8 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.

You can imagine the board's surprise when Dell quickly accepted.

"Thirty minutes later, he responds and says, ‘Happy to do it.' In Michael style, we met him down in the lobby and he came walking in all by himself, no huge entourage, just kind of strolling down the street by himself," Kavanaugh said.

That willingness to put aside his other cares to make time for a partner is just the kind of evidence that has made believers out of top solution providers like WWT, convincing them that when Dell the company shifted away from its direct-only heritage in 2007 to embrace the channel it had once eschewed, Dell the man was 100 percent committed to the shift.

"The direct business model Dell had in the early days was very innovative and entrepreneurial, but as the market morphed and changed, he changed with it," Kavanaugh said of Michael Dell. "His ability to adapt and reinvent himself and the company is just not easy to do."

Dell Technologies' channel renaissance is a testament to Michael Dell's agility and adaptability, to his passion for customers and technology, and to his deep commitment to using data to drive growth at his namesake company, solution providers said. Dell is a leader with big ideas, a clear vision and high standards. That commitment, vision and data brought him around to the channel and he's not looking back.

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