Dell EMC Revamps Partner Program To Make Life Easier, More Profitable For Partners


Dell EMC is starting the new year with a number of updates to its channel program aimed at improving partner profitability and simplifying the way solution providers do business with the company. These include a more streamlined market development fund (MDF) process; a reduction in the number of trained individuals needed to achieve Gold status; and the addition of more products to some of its rebate programs.

“We just need to never rest on making things easier for partners to do business with us,” said Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of Global Partner Marketing, of the changes coming to the Dell EMC Partner Program. “We acknowledge that for the velocity and pace of growth that we’re experiencing together—our partner community is growing much faster than the market and competitors—we need to stay maniacally focused on the operational experience to continue that pace. How can we continue that velocity and continue to remove obstacles that make it difficult to do business?”

Dell EMC is simplifying its MDF by moving to one Dell Technologies payment process, meaning partners will no longer receive multiple payments for a single claim. The company also created an easier MDF claiming process by simplifying its proof of execution for certain activities, while also revamping its MDF Tool homepage to give partners a complete view of active funds alongside key dates for action items such as expiration dates.

In addition, MDF rates will now be aligned to product categories versus one rate for its Infrastructure Solutions Group and one rate for its Client Solutions Group. “We aligned to a simple, common way that rates are calculated. So if I’m a partner, I know that both my front end, back end, my rebates as well as my MDF are all calculated in the same fashion. It makes it easier for them to do their estimates and their calculations,” said Cook.

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After hearing concerns from partners regarding the claiming process to obtain Dell EMC’s New Business Incentive (NBI) rebates when winning new business, the company has cut the claiming process altogether. The NBI rebates for winning business in a new account will now be automatically tracked and credited in an effort to simplify the engagement.

“It feels like they’re really trying to make it easier to get the money that you earned,” said Robert Keblusek, CTO of Sentinel Technologies, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based Dell Technologies partner. “The claiming process has been a challenge because it’s more we have to track. You earn this money, but you end up spending money having to track it, managing it, follow up on things. So the more they can do to make that easier, the better.”

Dell EMC is also making a major change in the requirements needed to achieve Gold partner status, which is the entry medal level above Authorized, by reducing the number of individuals required to complete the training to obtain the Gold tier. Cook said it will enable more—as well as smaller—partners to reap the financial incentives inside the program faster. Another important reason for lowering the training requirements is to allow partners who sell other areas of the Dell Technologies family of businesses to start making more money selling Dell EMC.

“There are many partners whose profiles look like application developers and cloud architects. They previously haven’t done a lot of transactional resell of hardware, but they possess the right kind of skills and specialized capabilities that we want to reward and acknowledge as they really embrace the broader family of companies,” Cook said.

Dell EMC is also launching a Data Analytics Solutions Competency through its Partner Academy training program. Cook said Dell created a curriculum that will bolster the channel’s analytics skill sets, spur new data-driven opportunities and allow partners to build consulting practices around data analytics service offerings.

“Data analytics is a really important space right now,” said Sentinel’s Keblusek. “We are getting involved more and more in customer conversations around data analytics—some of it’s business-related analytics, some is IT system health and security related. Dell has a lot of platforms and toolsets that can help with building that out for other organizations, and the training enables us to go to market more quickly with Dell solutions.”

Other new features in the partner program include adding Dell EMC’s new PowerVault ME4 storage solution to its 2 percent Midrange Storage Tech Refresh and 8 percent Competitive Swap rebate program; extending its 3X Storage/Data Protection and 1.5X Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Tier multiplier incentive programs through the entire fiscal year; and providing Dell EMC Test Drive, an in-person session with a hands-on lab for potential clients, for PowerMax, Unity and Integrated Data Protection Appliance DP4400.

“We make evolutions to the program, but not revolutions to the program. The structure is still highly consistent and really predictable,” said Cook. “We’ll continue to take the pulse and the heartbeat of our partner community from a prioritization perspective on what are those things that they value and want to have Dell help them with.”