EMC changing its channel philosophy in real-time

LAS VEGAS – The first time I got an opportunity to interview EMC Corp. CEO Joe Tucci I asked him how committed the company was to its channel partners.

His answer was candidly that the company at that moment in time was struggling to find a balance within its culture. He told me that EMC’s culture is a direct selling culture. But Tucci could read the tea leaves back them.

Fast forward to now and EMC channel chief Greg Ambulos, the senior vice-president of global channel sales for the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage vendor said the new EMC Business Partner program is less rigid and that there are fewer barriers for channel partners to make money.

“The lines are blurring and you are seeing system integrators start to resell hardware and VARs offering managed services. With this new program we’re not forcing your hand. We’re enabling choice,” Ambulos said.

Judging from the sentiment of some solution providers at EMC World show, the channel community is somewhat surprised at the change of heart from EMC leadership.

The biggest change that the partners wanted was to get paid from all their EMC sales from day one. EMC is now going to provide rebate dollars to the channel from the outset. No longer do solution providers have to reach a certain sales level before they get rebate margins.

The other important aspect of this new channel direction is EMC has finally included their federation companies VMware, Pivotal, RSA and EMC II. It will also include VCE.

The new channel program will accept credits from these other partner programs. This means solution providers are not forced to invest dollars twice for the same certification.

Another part that got the channel exited is the fact they will be able to stack margin rebate dollars if they are able to selling package solutions that include EMC and the federation companies. This will mean big margin opportunities right off of resale for the channel.

The only drawback is that the channel will have to go broad and deep with EMC and not so much with other vendors. Don’t knock EMC on this because HP, Cisco and others are asking the same thing of the channel.

The risk here is that customers may not want to be locked into one vendor. But this may be looked upon by the channel as a minimal risk because they too are trying to get closer to the custom and position themselves as a trusted advisor. They would be telling customers not to worry about which brand of storage they use because they should focus on their core competencies instead of IT.

Ambulos said that 60 per cent of IT decisions are being made at the line of business area such as marketing and human resources. “IT is not calling the shots anymore,” Ambulos added.

And he is right. Line of business decision makers will only care about the end result and not the brand of IT being used.

The new channel program gets started at the start of 2015 and that should be an interested year for EMC and its channel partners.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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