EMC has insisted that the changes it is making to its partner programmes will not result in VARs losing their identity.
This week at its Global Partner Summit in Las Vegas, the storage giant announced it was scrapping the Velocity channel programme after about a decade in existence in favour of branding all partners as Business Partners.
Yesterday, EMC channel chiefs claimed the overhaul of its partners' branding would help further align them to EMC, but would not result in customer confusion or loss of partner identity.
Speaking to CRN, EMC's senior vice president for global channel Gregg Ambulos said partners will still be able to market themselves individually after the changes come in next year.
"It is about being part of the EMC partner family. [They] will be able to differentiate with different specialities and certifications that [they] build out in practice areas, that will not change," he added. "[Partners] will be under one umbrella but they can still differentiate themselves."
EMC's vice president for global channel strategy and operations Jeff Taylor added that the vendor is seeing a lot of convergence in the partner landscape, and that the term Business Partner will avoid complicated branding issues such as when systems integrators act as resellers, for example.
The first phase of the branding overhaul is set to begin next January, when all partners will be formally referred to as Business Partners. Later on in 2014, EMC said that any changes to incentives, rebates and channel programme offerings will be announced as phase two. Taylor added that EMC tends to review its channel programmes annually to give partners enough time to adjust, and said that this will be the case once Velocity is axed.
Ambulos also admitted that using its partner portal – which is set to be revamped as part of the channel changes – was "not the easiest experience for our partners" and that he hopes the upcoming improvements will simplify things for its resellers.
Elsewhere at EMC World, the launch of its new ViPR product has been a strong focus.
The software-defined storage platform aims to help organisations improve automation processes and use modern storage architecture for their applications. EMC claims the product will help service providers and IT departments move to an operational datacentre model without the need to hire an abundance of technical experts to build it.
ViPR, which is set to become generally available in the second half of 2013, will be sold through channel partners, and Ambulos added that it will be a key opportunity for them. While he could not put a date on when partners can expect to be able to sell the new technology, he claimed it would be "sooner rather than later".
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