New Year, New Program: EMC Replaces Velocity With New EMC Business Partner Program

Greg Ambulos

EMC is ringing in the new year with a retirement party for its Velocity channel program and replacing it with a new EMC Business Partner program the company said will make it easier for solution providers to benefit from a wide range of the company's solutions.

Starting Jan. 1, the EMC Velocity channel program brand will be officially retired and replaced by the EMC Business Partner program, said Gregg Ambulos, EMC senior vice president of global channel sales.

EMC in May said at the EMC World conference that its channel program would change, but provided few details at the time.

[Related: EMC's New Partner Program Motto: 'More Simple, Predictable, Profitable' ]

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Ambulos said that while the program name is changing with the new year, the complete details are slated to be released this coming May at the EMC Global Partner Summit, held with this year's EMC World. The actual program will officially roll out to partners in January of 2015, he said.

However, Ambulos did share with CRN the basic construct of the program.

He said to think of the EMC Business Partner program as an umbrella with the program at the very tip covering EMC's various partners. Those partners include EMC's core storage channel partners, its systems integrators, services providers, alliance partners, OEMs and RSA partners.

The primary new advantage of the program for partners will be the flexibility to move their EMC channel dollars around as needed, Ambulos said. "Partners will be able to move dollars around different lines of business," he said. "And they can take part in multiple lines. Each line of business will have its own silver, gold and platinum tiers, each with its own requirements."

As a result, a partner might be at one tier for its storage hardware business, but a higher or lower tier for its managed services business, and a different tier for RSA, Ambulos said. However, they will be able to move their EMC program benefits between their different offerings as needed.

Outside of its EMC branded business, the company also will introduce links to companies in the EMC "federation," which also includes Pivotal, VMware and VCE, Ambulos said.

NEXT: Building A Foundation For Working With Channel Partners

"Pivotal, VMware and VCE will not be part of the EMC Business Partner program, but they will have links to the program," Ambulos said. "This will provide an easier path for partners to conduct their business with EMC and our federation."

EMC also is looking at having a separate distribution program linked to the EMC Business Partner program, Ambulos said.

EMC's channel program has been in an evolutionary mode for quite a while, said Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. for Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and EMC channel partner. "With everything going on with the cloud, everything's changing anyway," Norbie said.

The changes are all good news to the channel, Norbie said.

"EMC is looking to modernize and make themselves more relevant," he said. "I can appreciate that. There's a lot happening at the company with VMware's VSAN [Virtual SAN] and implementing OpenStack. Customers trust a brand like EMC. But it needs to be relevant in a world that is going software-defined and to the cloud."

EMC is expecting the EMC Business Partner program to be its foundation for working with channel partners over the next 10 years, Ambulos said.

"The Velocity Partner program was introduced about 10 years ago," he said. "Velocity was platform No. 2 for us. We want to help partners transfer to platform No. 3, which is why the links to the EMC federation. We're doing everything we can to be simple, predictable, and profitable. That's our tagline."