EMC Expands On Plans To Replace Velocity With EMC Business Partner Program, But Details Still Lacking

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With all the successful acquisitions EMC has done, it is important to consolidate the different parts into a coherent channel program, Force 3's Lin said. And that means solution providers can expect a new push on getting certifications and competencies.

"The requirements for competencies are constantly changing," he said. "When EMC does its channel programs, it typically asks more of you. For instance, when EMC first came out with its VNX storage line, we needed recertification. Our Clariion certifications didn't carry over."

Dan Weiss, CEO of Varrow, a Greensboro, N.C.-based solution provider and EMC partner, said that while EMC was light on details about the program, it had more than rebranding in mind.

Weiss said he would like to see EMC do a better job of showing off the different types of partners based on how much they have invested in EMC.

Over the last few years, EMC has worked to bring in a wider partner base, and in the process it provided many of the same benefits to partners that were either procurement-oriented or services-oriented, he said.

"Customers see that," he said. "We are a Signature partner. And a procurement-focused VAR might also have Signature partner status. But, they won't have the same level of investment in the EMC program. This can be confusing to customers who see us both as Signature partners."

EMC understands this issue, Weiss said. "I hope they bring back the ASN [Authorized Services Network] name," he said. "That's a very powerful message to customers when we can point to our authorization as a differentiator."

Fred Kohout, EMC vice president of worldwide channel marketing, said EMC will start making details of the new EMC Business Partner program available in late 2013 so that partners will be ready before the Velocity program is shut down.

For now, EMC's Ambulos said, the EMC Business Partner program will encompass members of the company's current technology outsourcer, systems integrator and service provider channel programs, as well as its ISV partners and its traditional resellers. The new program might also encompass partners of EMC's RSA, Information Intelligence Group (IIG), the new Pivotal big data company, and VMware.

While Pivotal and VMware are not likely to be a part of a single EMC channel program, they will be a factor in the EMC Business Partner program, Ambulos said.

"We will look at how to link to them for the maximum amount of coverage," he said.

For example, Kohout said, EMC is already taking steps to include its VSPEX reference architecture partners and its EMC Cloud Builder partners in the upcoming program. "Partners want a simple engagement model," he said.

EMC also used EMC World to talk about a number of other planned channel initiatives.

As part of its channel program refurbishment, EMC's Breen said the company plans to replace its Powerlink system over the next 12 months. Powerlink is a part of EMC's partner portal for accessing all manner of EMC partner information and has been criticized for being too complex.

Howard Elias, president and COO for EMC's global enterprise services, said EMC's channel programs and relationships will also transform over time as services becomes an increasingly important part of partners' business.

EMC will be looking to help partners transform to cloud builders, providers or brokers to meet new customer demands for services around cloud, big data and trust, Elias said.

However, it will not be an easy transformation, and definitely will not be for the faint of heart, he said. "But we're committed to help you on every stage of the journey," he said.

NEXT: Details On The Pivotal Channel Plans Still To Come

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