EMC Partners Rush To Dell World, Dell Foes Are Becoming Dell Friends

EMC partners are flocking to Dell's annual Dell World conference this week in Austin, Texas, seeking to cozy up to the company that intends to acquire EMC next year for a groundbreaking $67 billion.

Dell says it’s had a 15 percent spike in channel partner attendance at the conference since the EMC acquisition was announced last Monday.

The CEO for one of the largest solution providers in the country, a large Cisco solution solution provider with a significant EMC business, said the "hottest conversation" at Dell World will be what do EMC partners do now "that we are part of Dell."

"The big enemy has just acquired one of your lead lines," he said. "It is not something that can be ignored. You have got to do something. I think there will be a rush to embrace Dell or at least act like you are embracing Dell."

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[Related: 'Bad Blood' From Storage Sales Divorce Hangs Over Dell-EMC Sales Teams]

The CRN Solution Provider 500 CEO said it is worth noting that the "distressed company" was EMC. "Because of the lagging share price, EMC, a technology leader, was pushed into this shotgun wedding," he said.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, a longtime Dell and EMC partner, No. 232 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, says a lot of EMC partners that looked at Dell as a competitor are rushing to establish relationships with Dell in the wake of the merger.

"You are going to see Dell foes become Dell friends to ensure and protect their EMC market share," he said. "Right now they are all trying to get face time with Dell at Dell World."

Venero said partners that have already tight, well established relationships with Dell like Future Tech have an advantage over newcomers.

Venero is bringing four members of his Future Tech team along with nine customers to Dell World. "We are going to take our customers through what is valuable for them at Dell World," he said.

"Your hope is that as a partner that has shown allegiance and dedication to Dell that you will be in a different position than those that want to be a me-too partner only because of the Dell acquisition of EMC, not because of the enterprise value that Dell has driven over many years," he said.

Venero said Dell, already one of Future Tech's top strategic vendors, sees that relationship deepening and growing as a result of the EMC acquisition. He expects to double his Dell business over the next year in the wake of the EMC acquisition.

"It's going to mean exponential growth for Future Tech building on the business we already have with Dell," he said. "We wouldn't be growing as much as we are today without Dell. I'm always excited and inspired by the things that (Dell CEO) Michael (Dell) is doing to grow the business."

The president of a large solution provider that partners with both Dell and EMC told CRN that EMC partners that show up at Dell World may be asking, "Where are my leads? They're going to belly up to the bar," he said. "But if they think the merger equals automatically getting a bunch of leads, they're mistaken."

"We're in a prove-it-every-day world. It's an investment in engineering, understanding the programs," the solution provider told CRN. "There's a level of commitment that needs to exist. People still do business based on relationships, and it's about establishing yourself in the market and leveraging the power of either of these two brands." And it works both ways, the solution provider said. "Lots of Dell partners are just (focused on) client (systems), but just because you deliver a lot of business in laptops doesn't mean you'll be a good enterprise partner for EMC," he said.

A top executive at a West Coast-based solution provider that partners with both Dell and EMC told CRN the vendors are a good pair and will favor partners that are aggressive about closing deals.

"They're both aggressive cultures and we know how to navigate those cultures better than most," the solution provider said. "I think there's a really good chance to be successful, because in the end, they're really just trying to close business."