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EMC this week introduced a new ISV program and changes to its Velocity partner program to solution providers at its annual software conference in Las Vegas. A couple of days earlier, Dave DeWalt, president of EMC's software group, discussed the impact the channel has made on EMC and the Hopkinton, Mass.-based storage giant’s plans to get partners to participate in 100 percent of the company's software business in an interview with CRN Editor Heather Clancy, News Editor Steve Burke and Senior Editor Joseph Kovar.
CRN: What’s your message to solution providers? What are the key changes in terms and conditions for EMC software and its partners?
DEWALT: We had a very successful year, as you can imagine. Quite frankly, it was really the combination of EMC with all its partners that did it.
Now, having said that, one of my top objectives--literally my top objective--is to grow our partner ecosystem in 2006 and beyond. In order to really scale our business, we have to scale our partner ecosystem. It's not just, ‘Let's get more people reselling our products,’ which we want to do. But the whole idea is to get everybody from ISVs to OEMs to implementers to resellers to broadband distributors of every variety and market, and SMB markets, to expand our ecosystem with. We have to grow our partner ecosystem.
We've done a lot of work around three areas going into 2006. They loosely come under the headings of segmentation, alignment and specialization. Under segmentation, we've segmented our markets much more cleanly. If you're familiar with EMC, we largely had a couple of different sales forces but no real clean delineation of markets. What we're trying to do is segment the market better and have our partners aligned to that [segmentation] so we can support them in go-to-market operations in [those segments]. This wasn't as clean before. We had geographic reps who would cover large accounts. We had enterprise reps call on smaller accounts.
CRN: Any restrictions on enterprise reps going into smaller accounts?
DEWALT: We've created some hard caps in terms of which accounts they can call on. We've created real floors and ceilings on each of the market segmentations in order to allow that to be clean. That way, we don't get a lot of conflict; we got a lot of cooperation. And frankly, the SMB and commercial markets become 100 percent partner-oriented.
CRN: How often were the EMC enterprise guys drifting into the SMB space? How big of a change will that be for partners?
DEWALT: I probably couldn't just say a number here. I would just say, the way we've evolved as a company, we just really never took the hard challenge of segmenting the [market]. It wasn't as clean as we would have liked it. We tried to clean it up and make it focused.
The second area we call alignment, which is we’ll try to take the EMC software group and the EMC core [storage management] group and align them so we look like one EMC to all of our partners. That was a critical change as well, so now you aren't talking to Documentum or Legato or Smarts. You're talking to EMC. And we're going to have single account managers in the big accounts. We're going to have single partner alliance managers for midmarket partners. It will look like one EMC as we evolve our alignment model in 2006.
“Alignment” is the word we're using to talk to partners about how to interact with us, to make the two of us--the combination of EMC and its partners--stronger.
The third area, specialization, [lets us] serve our customers and our partners better with specific "big bets" in the marketplace. We're talking to what we call the "six C's:" compliance; continuity; consolidation; classification of data, or ILM; comprehensive BURA, or backup, recovery, and archive program; and content management. And then we're creating certification as well as training in these areas for partners so they can align with us to go to market.
CRN: This is a process that has been going on for some time?
DEWALT: Absolutely. But we're trying to evolve it to the point where we're 100 percent aligned and specialized and segmented to really have ourselves as a community going to market together, with our partners and our direct sales as one organization.
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