A simplification to EMC's Velocity channel program that makes it easier for new solution providers to attain higher status could cause dissension among EMC's existing solution providers who have made the investments to get there.
However, the integration of EMC's Isilon storage systems for unstructured data into the Velocity program is welcome news to solution providers who have found the EMC Isilon line a good fit for customers.
The changes are aimed at making it easier for solution providers to work with EMC, said Leonard Iventosch, vice president of Americas channels for the Hopkinton, Mass., storage giant.
"The overarching theme here is to build a Velocity program that is simple and profitable for our partners," Iventosch said.
The first major change is the decision to drop the services requirement needed for partners to get the EMC Velocity Premier Signature status.
Iventosch said that EMC Velocity Premier Signature partners had to prove their competency in sales, presales and services in the consolidation, advanced consolidation, and backup and recovery specialties in order to qualify for that status, while partners at the Premier level needed to prove those competencies in one specialty.
Going forward, solution providers will no longer have to meet the services requirements for either level, Iventosch said.
Jeff Schmitt, EMC's senior director of global services partners for the Americas, said the change came about because there are many partners qualified to engage EMC with their customers but have not yet had the time to build their EMC services capabilities.
"In the past, we expected partners to have the appropriate services capabilities," Schmitt said. "But their status could get stale as they built those services capabilities."
Iventosch said that Velocity Premier Signature partners have voiced concerns over lowering the requirement to attain that partnership level.
"However, services capabilities are still the main differentiator for partners," he said. "Also, as we change the Velocity program in the future, we will be working on additional benefits for partners with services capabilities."
The potential cheapening of the EMC Velocity Premier Signature program is a concern to Keith Norbie, vice president of Nexus, the Minnetonka, Minn. office of Stratos Management Systems, an Atlanta-based solution provider and EMC partner.
NEXT: Dropping The Service Plank Could Dilute The Program Value