EMC tweaks channel program to improve partner value

With a number of recent enhancements to its Velocity Partner Program, information infrastructure technology and solutions vendor EMC (NYSE: EMC) aims to align the program more closely with hot technology areas and encourage partners to give more of their business to EMC.

Michael Kerr, director of channels and business development for EMC Canada, said the challenge for today’s business partner is offering a service and giving the best advice they can to their clients, while not being able to represent every vendor in the market.

They’ve got to choose, said Kerr, and while every A-level vendor will tout their technology differentiations, at this level all the technology gets the job done: it’s the business case, and for the partner the partner program value, that can make the real difference.

“We’re trying to make it a business decision for the owner/operator, where it comes down to who saves the most time and makes them the most profitable, because at the end of the day they have payroll and they have to make money,” said Kerr. “We want to motivate to sell our products versus the other A-level players.”

To help partners see that business case in EMC, the vendor has announced enhancements to its EMC Velocity Partner Program centred on deal registration and enhancements.

The current deal registration program, which offers 180 days of mutual-exclusivity to close the deal, has two levels open to all EMC partners: incremental and prime deal. Incremental offers five per cent off list price for registering new opportunities. Prime offers “significant revenue opportunities” and sales investment protection for deals where EMC brings a partner into an opportunity.

Additionally, EMC will now offer an additional discount, for a cumulative total of up to 15 per cent off list, m when partners have invested in EMC’s Technical Architect (EMCTA) curricula.

“If you make this further investment in education, summing-up nine to 10 days in time, you’re now in a position to really offer advice at a technical level to the client in how our technology works and how it differentiates from the competition,” said Kerr. “If you do that, we’ll give you an additional 10 per cent discount.”

To reflect changing business priorities and market trends, EMC has also launched the Velocity Inventive Program (VIP), which will replace Journey to the Top as EMC’s incentive program and will be the vendor’s first multi-business unit global partner incentive program.

The primary changes, said Kerr, are a shift in emphasis to key technology areas such as the Avamar backup suite, the RecoverPoint product sets, and flash drive technology.

“We’re pushing the technologies we believe differentiate us in the market to begin with,” said Ker. “We’re making it worthwhile to partners to begin pushing these technologies. These are things that need to be sold; they’re not necessarily obvious to our clients at this time.”

These new technologies need to have a business-case built, they need to be cost-justified, and they need to be explained. That requires partner investment, said Kerr, and so EMC was to recognize that.

EMC is also running a sales contest that will see the partners that close the highest number of transactions eligible to win a trip to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Looking at the business climate in Canada, Kerr said after a clear slowdown in Q1, EMC saw a return to normalcy in Q2. And while Canadians are taking advantage of our traditionally short summers, they are still seeing decent activity.

“But our fear is we’ll never recover the business lost in Q1, and that it will just be continually pushed-out,” said Kerr. “We’re seeing signs of continued need for our technology in businesses, but a stronger ROI is needed for greater utilization of assets and longer life-terms.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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