Dell Promises 'Seamless' Deal Registration For Partners On First Day After EMC Merger

Dell is urging channel partners to sign on with EMC's Business Partner Program, and promising that deal registration and sales coverage will be seamless from the first day the two IT giants are merged, but partners' expectations are slightly less optimistic.

In a letter to partners Tuesday, Marius Haas, Dell chief commercial officer and president of enterprise solutions, said the company is "driving to maintain the partner and customer experience you have come to expect today, and at the onset of day one, provide seamless deal registration and intact sales coverage plans."

"I do not think it will be seamless," said a top executive at one large Dell and EMC solution provider, who did not want to be named. "Nothing in life ever is."

[Related: Dell Channel Chief On Taking Share From HP And The Plan To Unify The Dell And EMC Partner Programs]

Likewise, Jason Cherveny, president and CEO of Sanity Solutions, a Dell solution provider based in Denver, said it's obvious Dell and EMC executives have spent a lot of time trying to make the transition go as smoothly as possible for partners, but "seamless" may be an overstatement.

"I expect it to go fairly well," Cherveny said. "Do I expect it to be perfect? Absolutely not. We can hope, and I have no reason to believe that it's going to be bad, and I do know a lot of really smart people have put in a lot of time, but as we all know, things aren't perfect."

Mark McKeever, principal at Tempe, Ariz.-based solution provider MicroAge, said Dell "has earned a lot of goodwill in my book, and they have a lot at stake here in terms of their reputation as a channel partner. I take it on faith that they'll get it right and make adjustments anywhere they're off target."

Still, McKeever said he isn't expecting any miracles. "It's going to be an impossible task for them to merge their channel programs flawlessly," he said. "They're going to need to make choices when they reconcile everything, so it's really just a question of if they get it mostly right on the first pass."

In the letter to partners, Haas said the company expects to establish a single program sometime in 2017. In the meantime, the letter said, Dell partners are encouraged to sign up with EMC.

Dell does about 40 percent of its business through the channel. The channel accounts for about 60 percent of EMC's business.

EMC Channel Chief Gregg Ambulos told CRN in the spring that the combined Dell-EMC channel program would be similar to EMC's. Cheryl Cook, Dell's channel chief, told CRN the program would be made of the best parts of each program with a careful eye toward preventing disruption to either.

Dell has not yet disclosed who will lead the combined company's channel operation.

This year, Dell has made changes to its program to more strongly encourage winning new business and propel partners toward the enterprise data center by doubling rebates for partners that win new business in enterprise networking and storage.

Early in the year, EMC adjusted its channel program to increase incentives for mid-tier partners, simplify deal registration and streamline program policies.

Dell's more than $62 billion acquisition of EMC is expected to close before the end of October. EMC shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposal July 19.

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