Sometimes the terms and conditions of a channel program can get in the way of closing a deal. In recognition of that simple fact EMC is changing some of the core requirements of its Velocity channel program as part of an effort to lower the hurdles solution providers need to overcome in order to participate in the program.
According to Leonard Iventosch, EMC vice president of channel sales for the U.S., EMC partners are no longer required to have post sales implementation certifications or, for that matter, achieve a specific level of revenue to attain Specialty2 status within the EMC channel program. Iventosch says resellers will also be paid rebates from the first sale in addition to existing performance-based rebates, which EMC partners can either pass on to customers or simply use to improve their own bottom lines.
In addition, EMC is shifting from a pure co-op channel marketing model based on sales history to a program that now includes both co-op and market development funds. Iventosch says the overall goal is to make more marketing and training resources available in order to make it easier for partners to sell EMC products and services.
Finally, EMC has also folded the partners it gained with the acquisition of Isilon in 2010 into the EMC Velocity program. Previously, resellers of Isilon storage systems were managed under a legacy Isilon channel program that EMC inherited.
Iventosch says the intent behind these changes is to provide EMC partners with more incentives to focus on EMC storage. EMC’s most recent financial numbers were strong, but guidance from the company suggests there will be some tough sledding ahead. Some of the reason for that could be attributed to the fact that some partners may have opted to sell other storage solutions because the investments required to achieve the most amount of benefit from being in the EMC Velocity program were perceived to be too high.
EMC, says Iventosch, is not making these latest moves lightly because hundreds of partners have already invested in attaining Specialty2 certifications in the EMC Velocity program. Those partners will continue to be rewarded at a higher level. But in order to provide a broader base of partners that might one day attain those level of service sales Iventosch says EMC is moving to make it easier for a larger number of partners to participate in the overall program.
Overall, Iventosch says EMC is seeing fewer pure storage resellers these days. With the rise of converged infrastructure in the form of platforms such as the Vblock integrated servers based on the Cisco Unified Computing System it’s clear that customers are looking for more turnkey approaches to adding capacity inside their data centers.
In fact, Iventosch says that convergence is already starting to drive more mergers and acquisitions across the channel.
In the meantime, as the economy improves it’s only natural to see vendors trying to increase sales volume within their channel. Those moves may benefit one class of solution providers over another. But at the end of the day vendors such as EMC are trying to manage a channel that can only be described as fluid, which from time to time are going to require some adjustments to the levers that ultimately control how much revenue is flowing through any particular channel at any given time.