CA, EMC Look To Broaden Reach Through New Partner Programs

While both CA and EMC have had their new enterprise channel programs in the works for some time, the timing of the rollout couldn't be more critical for either company or their partners. With the proposed merger of Symantec and Veritas, CA faces a much larger rival in the security and storage management segments, while EMC is primed to leverage its acquisitions of Dantz, Documentum and Legato (and at some point SMARTS, the storage management company EMC has recently agreed to acquire) to position itself as a key provider of storage and content management software.

CA's new Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) program is particularly noteworthy because it represents the most concerted effort in recent memory to bring partners into large accounts. It's also CA's first organized attempt to sell its highest-end products -- particularly the company's Unicenter systems management platform -- through the channel in nearly four years.

Gary Quinn, CA's executive vice president of partner advocacy, believes the current effort to sell its flagship Unicenter platform through the channel has a better chance of success than past efforts because of the way the overall partner program is structured.

"We've integrated the channel components into the mainstream of CA as opposed to a separate organization," Quinn says. "We put behind it the tools and needs the channel requires, such as deal registration and rebates, that are not just revenue-driven but behavior-driven."

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CA's new field sales organization, assembled last year, is intended to encourage multiple routes to market that include both direct and indirect sales. Part of that structure includes partner managers who provide overall development of business plans, marketing programs, training and certification in conjunction with the direct sales force. As part of the company's overall effort to move more business through the channel, CA is evolving its compensation model to ensure, if not encourage, its direct sales force to bring partners into engagements, Quinn adds.

"We believe by having the channel mainstreamed into the rest of the CA organization, having people at the geographic level responsible for the success of the partners as well as accountable for the revenue that the partners drive toward the common goal in the geography, we can be successful," he says.

In pilot mode since last April, CA will bring 150 partners into the ESP program in the coming year. While that represents only a small subset of CA's 8,000 commercial partners, the program represents a key shift in how the company goes to market with high-end enterprise products.

"We believe the renewed channel focus will be good for us and good for the channel," says Todd O'Bert, CEO of Productive, a Minneapolis-based solution provider and pilot member of CA's new ESP program. While acknowledging it's not CA's first promise to push more business through the channel, O'Bert says he is seeing a more focused commitment.

"They are making a more cohesive effort from the top down," he says.

CA's program will consist of a lead-generation program, 24x7 support by CA-certified engineers and dedicated field Partner Advocate Managers. CA is also offering a rebate program that will pay up to 11 percent.

CA is working with its key distribution partner, Arrow, and adding on Avnet and GE Access. CA is also opening its Customer Interaction Center (CIC), staffed with 400 sales and marketing people, to provide ESP partners exclusive hands-on support. Staff at the CIC will provide solution providers with lead-generation programs, technical support and training, and make the portfolio of enterprise products like Unicenter available to partners so they can go into an account with the same depth of knowledge of the product sets as the direct sales force has, Quinn says.

"For the first time, we want to make the breadth of CA products available to partners," Quinn says. "We need high-end partners who can work with customers that prefer to work with partners in accessing enterprise technology."

Meanwhile, EMC is kicking off the early part of this year with its new Velocity Program, which will provide a common channel program for EMC software products, selected Documentum products and the Legato software stack. Not quite at the implementation phase that CA's program is, EMC officials are hoping to have the program rolled out by midyear with a common partner portal and recognition of partner sales across product lines. Among other new offerings in the program will be a deal-registration program and recognition of partners based on their overall commitment to EMC, says John Koury, EMC's vice president of channel marketing programs.

"We've taken best learning from Legato and the Documentum side and begun to incorporate those," Koury says.

Notably, partners who sell Documentum or Legato solutions will be awarded a higher number of points than if they sold the same dollar amount of Clariion arrays, notes Lance Sedlak, director of marketing, enterprise storage, at Arrow Electronics, which is adding the Documentum line on top of Legato, thanks to the new program.

"The point system recognizes the overall value proposition," Sedlak adds. "Resellers will be more likely to extend their overall business relationship with EMC for the different product sets in their ILM strategy."