EMC World: Dell Technologies' Channel Program Will Look A Lot Like EMC's, Says EMC Channel Chief

The merged Dell and EMC will establish a single channel program in 2017, and when it does, it'll look a lot like EMC's program, EMC channel chief Gregg Ambulos told CRN.

"The way we are going to market and [the way Dell is] are a little bit different as it pertains to where the channel resides, and how we're set up from a corporate perspective, and also in the field," Ambulos told CRN at the annual EMC World conference in Las Vegas. The unified program under the new Dell Technologies brand, "is going to be very similar to how EMC is set up," he said.

In 2017, Ambulos said, "we'll have one registration program. We will continue to have incentives aligned around our sales priorities. We will have a centralized, global channel structure to ensure we have a consistent strategy worldwide, and we're going to have field-based channel resources that are going to be aligned with the sales organization, so it's very similar to how EMC goes to market today."

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In a statement to CRN, Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook said the two companies would incorporate the best attributes of each program into the unified Dell Technologies program. "We're going to look at both companies' programs, and model the new company's channel programs with the best attributes of both," Cook said.

Bob Olwig, vice president of business strategy at World Wide Technology, a St. Louis-based solution provider and channel partner to both EMC and Dell, told CRN he has been informed that Dell Technologies will eventually lean more toward the EMC channel program as the companies come together.

"That's great news for us, since we're more heavily into EMC," Olwig said.

Still, a top executive at another Dell and EMC solution provider, who did not want to be named, said he'd prefer to see Dell's program take the lead, despite having success with EMC, doing $2.5 million in revenue through EMC last year and expecting to double that this year.

"The Dell program is awesome," the solution provider executive said. "It's heads and shoulders above all our other key partners, and the ease of doing business outpaces everyone else too. I'm not so sure about the EMC program. They've been tough to work with."

In the beginning, however, Dell Technologies will maintain two separate channel programs, and two separate deal registration programs. Channel executives will closely monitor the programs to minimize conflict and disruption, Ambulos said.

"We're not expecting a lot of conflict," Ambulos said. "If we do have a conflict, we'll handle it in the right way. We want to make sure the customer is not impacted and the partner is not impacted. We're going to do the right thing. Any net new registration going forward, we'll have checks and balances between the two programs to make sure there's no duplicate registrations."

EMC, which did about $25 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, does about 60 percent of its business through the channel. Dell, which did about $55 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year, does about 40 percent of its business through the channel.

The companies are expected to close their $60 billion merger before the end of October.

The history of each company includes a transition from a direct sales model to the channel model, and in each case, those transitions were rocky, Ambulos said.

It's also unknown who will lead the channel effort for the combined Dell Technologies. Ambulos said U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules prohibit him from speaking with his Dell counterpart, Cook.

"We're still two companies right now, and I'm just keeping my head down, and so is my counterpart," Ambulos said. "Until the deal comes down, we're still independent companies, and we're operating that way."

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