Dave DeWalt, EMC Software

The president of the storage giant's software group recently discussed the impact the channel has made on EMC. DeWalt also talked about the Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor's plan to get partners to participate in 100 percent of the company&'s software business. He spoke with Editor Heather Clancy, Editor/News Steven Burke and Senior Editor Joseph F. Kovar.

CRN: What&'s your message to solution providers? What are the key changes in terms and conditions for EMC Software and its partners?

DEWALT: One of my top objectives—literally my top objective—is to grow our partner ecosystem in 2006 and beyond.

In order to really scale our business, we have to scale our partner ecosystem. It&'s not just, ‘Let&'s get more people reselling our products,&' which we want to do. But the whole idea is to get everybody from ISVs to OEMs to implementers to resellers to broadband distributors of every variety and markets—[including] SMB markets—to expand our ecosystem with.

We&'ve done a lot of work around three areas going into 2006. They loosely come under the headings of segmentation, alignment and specialization. Under segmentation, we&'ve segmented our markets much more cleanly. If you&'re familiar with EMC, we largely had a couple of different sales forces but no real clean delineation of markets. What we&'re trying to do is segment the market better and have our partners aligned to that [segmentation].

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CRN: Any restrictions on enterprise reps going into smaller accounts?

DEWALT: We&'ve created real floors and ceilings on each of the market segmentations in order to allow that to be clean. That way, we don&'t get a lot of conflict, we get a lot of cooperation. And frankly, the SMB and commercial markets become 100 percent partner-oriented.

CRN: How often were the EMC enterprise guys drifting into the SMB space? How big of a change will that be for partners?

DEWALT: I probably couldn&'t just say a number here. I would just say, the way we&'ve evolved as a company, we just really never took [on] the hard challenge of segmenting the [market].

The second area we call alignment, which is we&'ll try to take the EMC software group and the EMC core [storage management technology] group and align them so we look like one EMC to all of our partners. That was a critical change as well, so now you aren&'t talking to Documentum or Legato or SMARTS, you&'re talking to EMC.

And we&'re going to have single account managers in the big accounts. We&'re going to have single partner alliance managers for midmarket partners. The third area, specialization [lets us] serve our customers and our partners better with specific big bets in the marketplace. We&'re talking to what we call the ‘six Cs&': compliance; continuity; consolidation; classification of data, or ILM [information life-cycle management]; comprehensive BURA (backup, recovery and archive) programs; and content management. And then we&'re creating certification as well as training in these areas for partners.

CRN: Give us the specifics on how segmentation works for the enterprise and SMB segments.

DEWALT: Without stating what the number of accounts are, we created a finite group of accounts that are really going to be focused on [direct sales]. They&'re then going to be focused vertically such as government, telco, media/entertainment and financial areas.

Over time, [the list] will keep expanding vertically in that top-tier account list. The idea is to go deeper with our direct teams in those big, global enterprise accounts. At that point, we will be one EMC to those big customers in that segmentation.

It will be measured in the hundreds. We&'ll cap that list as the group [of accounts] where we&'re going to have a very direct presence. That doesn&'t mean we&'re going to do only direct sales there. That just means we&'ll have a very direct presence there.

CRN: How many partners will EMC end the year with on the software side? Any goals for 2006?

DEWALT: It&'s definitely well in excess of 1,000 certified, trained partners. We&'ve had tremendous success in expanding that.

CRN: Any goals for partners selling software? What are you looking for in 2006?

DEWALT: Through the third quarter [of 2005], we had a lot of success in increasing what we call our partner influence, which is partners involved with at least 50 percent or more of the transactions we do. And we&'ve got well in excess of 70 percent of our transactions on the software side influenced by the partner community through the third quarter. Obviously, our goal is to continue to grow that. Traditionally, that number was much less.

We&'ve grown considerably in that the majority of our [software] transactions are influenced—either [the partners] implement it, resell it or [add] an integration component that was critical to the deal.

The partners are intimately involved in our [software] transactions now. Our ultimate goal is to have that at 100 percent, growing it to the point where our partners are completely involved in every aspect of our business.