EMC next week is expected to roll out an accreditation program for its channel partners aimed at helping them gain a bigger portion of the vendor's storage hardware and software business, company officials told CRN.
The EMC Partner Accreditation and Certification Program will help ensure that customers who enter into a relationship with EMC will receive the same level of quality service whether they deal with a partner or directly with the vendor, said Greg Ambulos, vice president of the company's global channels.
Under the new program, which is scheduled to be rolled out on August 7, both the solution provider organization and individual personnel can opt to become accredited at one of two levels, said Shawn Pearson, the company's channel productivity manager.
At the individual level, sales personnel can become an EMC Accredited Sales Professional, while pre-sales technical people can seek the EMC Accredited Pre-sales Technical Professional designation. Such personnel can opt for standard accreditation, with a focus on products aimed more at the midmarket space, or senior accreditation, focused on EMC's entire product line, Pearson said.
On the services side, implementation personnel can become certified as EMC Proven Professionals, Pearson said, noting that there are stricter requirements for certification than for accreditation. "Implementers of our technology in live data centers face a bigger risk of failure, so we want them to go through a much more rigorous level of training," he said. "We want customers to know [such people have been 'blessed' at the highest level."
At the partner level, companies can qualify for either of two levels, depending on the ratio of accredited or certified personnel to expected EMC revenue, Pearson said. At the Business Partner level, the solution provider partner would need one accredited pre-sales technician and two accredited sales personnel per $2 million in committed revenue. At the Premier Solutions Partner level, those requirements would double. Senior accreditation is required for Premier Solutions Partner personnel.
Pearson said details regarding the benefits of the accreditation programs have yet to be finalized but include the use of EMC logos for marketing and increased lead support and account control.
The program is expected to result in an increase in indirect sales as a portion of EMC's revenue, said Pearson. "We want to give partners more and more transactions as they prove themselves," he said.
This is not aimed at reducing the number of channel partners, Pearson said. "We will make sure all our partners have access to our products and programs, especially those that buy through distribution," he said. "They can still sell our products if they haven't been accredited, but we will not be as proactive with leads and other marketing programs with them."
Solution provider personnel can choose from either computer-based training or face-to-face instruction, said Pearson. The company will shortly start offering training programs at road shows held in 24 cities in the United States on a quarterly basis, which will allow personnel to go through about 25 percent of the curriculum at one time. EMC will also offer a fast-track program under which a firm's entire staff can be trained and accredited in a couple of days.
Some partners will be able to test-out some training modules that they took before, said Bill Taylor, director of EMC's global channels. Training costs will be minimal. "This is not a revenue stream for EMC," Taylor said. "Classes will be offered at nominal cost."
EMC's distribution partners will also be eligible for the certification and accreditation, Taylor said.