This weekend, thousands of EMC partners and customers will descend on Las Vegas for EMC World, which kicks off on Monday.
The event has always been a must-attend for many UK partners keen to learn more about the company's vision and strategy, but this year's gathering is more hotly anticipated than ever, as it will be the first time partners will learn about how the combined Dell-EMC entity will look – and crucially – how it will affect their businesses.
The man himself, Michael Dell, is expected to take to the EMC World stage on Monday morning to deliver his vision of the future of EMC under Dell. The latter announced plans to acquire EMC last October and the deal is anticipated to close between May and October this year.
The integration will be one of the hottest talking points of the event, according to MTI's senior vice president for sales Ian Parslow (pictured below), who said he wants clarification on the recent reseller agreement that the two have signed.
"Something that is poignant for us in the channel is that Dell has signed a number of resale agreements with EMC on a set of core products," he said. "That in itself I see as quite exciting, but it is also a bit of a risk to existing EMC partners. Dell will be acquiring the technology, but also the customer base. Given they are quite a direct-focused organisation, we in the channel should be concerned about how Dell is going to be engaging with and embracing EMC's existing channel community.
"There might be risk to us there that Dell is not only acquiring the technology, but the account base too.
"Therefore, they might be looking to say 'oh well the accounts belong to us now, why do we need the channel?' I've got a couple of sessions booked with Dell and I've been invited to a session with Michael Dell as well, so I am going to be asking that question – how is he going to be investing in EMC's channel to ensure we are protected and can deliver more value?"
Computacenter's chief technologist Bill McGloin, who will also be heading out to Las Vegas for the event, said some concerns about the acquisition have begun to die down.
"I think everyone is much more comfortable about the Dell-EMC relationship now – it feels like we are in a better place and people aren't worrying the way they were when it was announced," he said.
"It does feel in a better place. It's still to come out in the wash which products will survive. We have met a few of the execs along the way now and we have a reasonable idea of what's going on.
"But obviously it all has to settle down and ultimately market forces will decide the direction."
"There's nothing I have seen which worries me."
EMC's partner programme has only recently undergone a significant transformation – with its decade-old Velocity programme being replaced by the divisive Business Partner Programme (BPP) at the start of last year. The BPP initially upset smaller EMC partners with its sky-high revenue requirements, but EMC later lowered these in recognition of its mid-market partners.
Dell has traditionally had a direct business model, although it has been keen to boast for the last few years about how half of its EMEA sales go through partners.
McGloin said he is intrigued about how the future company's channel programme will look.
"Outside the technology, it will be interesting to see what they announce around partner programmes," he said. "There may be some questions there and that type of thing [we'd like clarification on]. We're a big partner of both of them so we are in a good place. Our take on [the merger] is very positive."
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