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EMC's race to transform itself into one of the top channel-friendly vendors is about to move to a whole new level.
The storage giant is using meetings with more than 3,000 solution providers at this week's EMC World to unveil programs that will push sales and services in all but a handful of its top accounts to the channel while providing partners with new services backed by its global services arm and new non-vendor-specific cloud capabilities.
Even more important, EMC is internally backing up these moves with a strong carrot-and-stick approach to ensure that its direct sales reps are fully committed to working with channel partners.
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The new programs will foster business opportunities for EMC's channel partners, said Dan Serpico, president of FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solution provider and EMC partner.
"Whatever EMC does to facilitate our business with EMC is good for us," Serpico said. "Of our customer base, 70 percent haven't bought storage from us. This is a big greenfield opportunity. EMC's new programs will make it easier for us to take advantage of that opportunity."
CRN editors sat down with EMC's top executives at the company's Hopkinton, Mass., headquarters in late April to learn more about the upcoming programs and services and get a better sense of the company’s channel-focused moves.
During an interview with EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci, Tucci said EMC's business is growing much faster than the IT industry as a whole, and that more than two-thirds of that growth is being driven by and heavily influenced by the channel.
"What does that tell you? The channel is incredibly important to our future," Tucci said. "We have changed our stripes."
That does not mean that EMC is turning away from direct sales, he added.
"As long as I’m living and breathing, we're gonna have a strong direct sales force," Tucci said. "It's the power of 'and;' not the power of 'or.' It's not, 'Are you a direct sales organization or a channel organization?'’ It's, 'Have you mastered how to do both?' "
However, Tucci said, the move to embrace the channel is not just about increasing EMC sales, but also about making partners successful and profitable so they will drive more EMC business.
"If you're going to call them a channel partner, I want them to be successful," he said. "And I want them to worry about our success. ... And it's a visceral, deep belief. It's not something I'm saying because you're here from CRN, or I want to make you happy so you write a better story. This is a deep belief."