When I asked SVP of global channel marketing Cheryl Cook to single out one key message she wants partners to take away from Dell Technologies World, she did not hesitate in her response.
"The timing has never been better with Dell Technologies - engage, invest and enable yourselves; the growth potential is real."
Slightly disappointed by her rather generic response to my question, I quickly moved the conversation on.
But now I think about it, Cook's message to partners was more profound than I first gave it credit.
Let's look at the bigger picture. Dell Technologies listed on the NYSE in December in a move which Michael Dell said would simplify its capital structure.
It acquired EMC and VMware in 2015, which produced a true infrastructure and computing powerhouse - right at a time when HP announced its intention to split its business in two.
HPE has since embarked on a cost-cutting drive which saw the vendor remove the EMEA management layer along with a reported 5,000 jobs from the business.
VMware has meanwhile gone on to place itself at the centre of the hybrid cloud conversation through its landmark partnership with AWS right at a time when a consensus was being built by the likes of Microsoft and IBM that hybrid cloud will become the dominant infrastructure trend for the foreseeable future.
And Dell Technologies World 2019 felt like the culmination of these disjointed industry forces coming together. The image of Satya Nadella, Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger on stage, jointly announcing the launch of VMware on Microsoft Azure felt like the finale to a saga that has been unfolding for the last four years.
The announcement's timing is also striking. It eclipses HPE's attempt to buckle software to its own hyperconverged infrastructure through its partnership with Nutanix just three weeks ago.
So yes, Cook's key message to channel partners is more profound than one might think. For Dell Technologies - due to a growing consensus around hybrid cloud and the actions of some of tech's leading players - "timing" has been everything.
But it has become increasingly obvious that VMware is now the glue that holds the Dell Technologies proposition together and is single-handedly driving Dell's multi-cloud strategy.
And let's not forget that VMware has an install base of 600,000 customers - many of which aren't using Dell EMC infrastructure. With the latest integrations with VMware, Dell EMC has a genuine opportunity to gain even more market share in an infrastructure market where it's already the dominant leader.
The Las Vegas conference, which drew 15,000 attendees this year, may be called "Dell Technologies World" but it was VMware that stole the show this year.
VMware on Dell EMC, VMware on Microsoft Azure, VMware Workspace ONE creates Unified Workspace - it made one wonder whether Pat Gelsinger should have delivered the opening keynote instead of Michael Dell.
Indeed, this year Pat Gelsinger appeared in countless sessions, both during the general keynote and the Global Partner Summit.
The Dell CEO told event delegates that VMware is completely integrated with Dell from a technology standpoint, and the relationship between the two companies "is clearly getting stronger".
Yet the integrations have added some confusion over where Dell Technologies and Dell EMC starts, and where VMware ends.
Some Dell EMC execs, for example, now refer to themselves as Dell Technologies executives, whereas others have stuck with the Dell EMC brand. Meanwhile, as per the latest partner programme updates, Dell EMC partners are now Dell Technologies Partners.
And now that VMware sales contribute to Dell EMC partner revenues, as well as those from other Dell Technologies brands, customers and partners alike will begin asking the same question: who, exactly, am I buying from?
"Dell Technologies" was the resounding response from Dell's newly appointed EMEA channel boss Anwar Dahab.
"That's been the feedback from all the partners I've met here… Dell Technologies has become real. If you want to win in multi-cloud, if you want to win in workforce transformation and IT transformation, go with the Dell Technologies portfolio."
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