Dell Technologies – the new name for the combined Dell and EMC company – is expected to carry out a "hefty cull" of partners to streamline an "obese" channel model, according to analyst Clive Longbottom.
Last week at EMC World in Las Vegas, Michael Dell announced that as soon as the deal closes, EMC and Dell's partner programmes will continue as normal. But on 1 February next year – the start of Dell's financial year – a combined programme will come into place instead, alongside a single, unified channel team across the Dell Technologies business.
Quocirca founder Longbottom, who attended the event, told CRN that this could mean resellers will have to prove their worth. He explained that the new combined entity will attract customers who need a wide range of expertise, meaning simply reselling PCs or specialist storage gear may no longer cut it.
"There's going to have to be a pretty hefty cull of the channel, getting rid of the box shifters on the Dell side and the highly specialised EMC channel," he said. "They need to move to those [partners] who understand the world has changed. The channel is going to have to understand that and go out there and fulfil it.
"There is not a massive amount of overlap in the Dell channel and the EMC channel, but when you start to count them all up [there are a lot]. They run the risk of telling [customers] 'this is the channel you should use', but risk five other [resellers] in that same region crying foul and saying 'we could have done that much better' or 'we already had an existing relationship' and so on.
"It is a bit of an obese, overweight channel model at the moment.
"I do think the best thing they can do is figure out which [partner
s] are dead wood and aren't up to the job. They should focus on those which can move up into being the high-value channel for Dell Technologies...and are capable of moving up."
Ian Parslow (pictured), senior vice president of sales for EMC partner MTI Technologies, said that it will be down to partners to prove they are committed to the new entity.
"I for one would expect them to invest in the key skills and certifications required to sell these types of solutions," he said. "If you're not prepared to make those investments in personnel and training, then don't expect to be part of the party. I don't think it is down to Dell and EMC to certify who sells the technologies – it will be down to the partner and if they want to put in the effort. That will ultimately dictate if they will be part of the channel community."
Part of the family
When Michael Dell announced the Dell Technologies name, he was keen to stress how the businesses would form part of a "family", and did not mention the word "federation", which EMC uses to describe the way EMC, VMware, Pivotal, RSA and Virtusteam are connected.
Quocirca's Longbottom said this is telling.
"Joe [Tucci, EMC's CEO] has been very committed to the idea of a federation, whereas Michael was very careful not to mention a federation, but to talk about a 'family'," he said.
"So there is a bit of an issue there. I have never liked the idea of a federation. By making it a 'family' there is a risk of problems in bringing them all together. Each division has its own CEO and they will have to work more closely together than they ever had in the past. There was one remarkable absence at EMC World – Pat Gelsinger [VMware's CEO]. A lot of the other [EMC Federation CEOs] were not there, but VMware is the cash engine for funding this deal. For Pat not to be there was a little telling."
Michael Dell and Joe Tucci popped up at various sessions throughout the week, with one executive joking last week that it took him 20 minutes to leave a room because of the number of partners lining up to have their picture taken with the duo.
Parslow said he spoke to both on a number of occasions at EMC World.
"The execs were very available," he said. "They spent a lot of time on the floor, meeting people. They really put a shift in to encourage and motivate people that this is a good acquisition."
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