New rules of engagement being swiftly introduced for Dell and EMC partners will prevent them from butting heads on deals in the coming months, according to newly crowned Dell EMC EMEA channel boss Michael Collins.
Dell and EMC completed their $59bn union last week, but a joint Dell EMC partner programme won't launch until 1 February 2017.
Partners on either side, while welcoming the merger, were worried that the ensuing five-month period could see confusion in the channel if Dell did not quickly move to address potential deal management issues.
Addressing such concerns, Dell's global channel boss John Byrne (pictured) wrote to the Dell and EMC partner base last night to explain that, while the Dell PartnerDirect and EMC Business Partner programmes will continue to operate independently until 1 February, the vendor is updating its go-to-market rules of engagement in the meantime to ensure partners on either side are protected.
Dell is doing this through its new ‘Dell EMC Line of Business Incumbency Programme for Storage', Byrne explained in the letter.
"The programme, which is a direct result of feedback we heard from the partner community, enables channel partners to pursue any previous channel customer with the best technology for them," he wrote. "In this new model, partners can maintain their relationships with their installed base through standard deal registration, and can serve new customers interested in the full Dell EMC portfolio. The programme empowers partners who have a registered deal and delivered revenue in the past to have that commercial customer account be defined as partner-led."
The scheme draws on both Dell's legacy Line of Business Registration model and EMC's legacy model, Byrne explained.
The partner communication contained detailed information and an FAQ on how it functions but talking to CRN, Collins said the scheme is effectively an evolution of EMC's ‘hard-deck' model.
"The incumbency programme will go a long way to sorting out any concerns partners have had," he said.
"We also have a well-defined deal registration programme that has served Dell well and will continue to use that to make sure we avoid any channel conflict," he said. "And where there are products that compete with each other within our portfolio we will have, within our deal registration process, a team of people that are able to guide these opportunities in the most appropriate way."
Collins won't officially take up his new role of vice president of Dell EMC EMEA channel until January 2017. Until then, he will run the Dell EMC channel jointly with his opposite number from EMC, Philippe Fosse, whose future role within Dell Technologies will be announced in due course.
Country-level channel heads, including in the UK, have yet to be announced, Collins said.
Reports have already suggested Dell Technologies is gearing up to slim its workforce in the wake of the deal but Collins argued the two vendors' skills and channels are largely complementary.
"EMC has had the benefit of the kind of channel that's been difficult for us to penetrate, and on the other hand, we [Dell] are providing a channel that they've had difficulty acquiring," he said. "When we put the two channels together - like so many other aspects of this deal - they are very complementary. I couldn't be more pleased to have the opportunity to lead this part of Dell's business - it is going to be responsible for a big part of the future growth of Dell Technologies."
Ian Parslow, senior vice president of sales at MTI, which is one of EMC's largest UK partners, welcomed the new deal registration processes the enlarged vendor is introducing.
"I'm impressed by the foresight and thought they have put into making this work for the channel," he said. "Clearly the proof is in the pudding but the methodology they have put in place on first pass seems to be sensible. In simple terms, what I've learned is that the deal registration process will not be owned by the account manager at either Dell or EMC but by an internal process that basically states that if they have no visibility of the deal it will automatically be approved for the partner, and I think that's a very fair way to do it."
In regards to incumbency, Parslow said he understood the new scheme would protect partners that have been engaged in an account for a period of time, to prevent other partners from swooping in.
"The devil's in the detail, but with good channel management and honest dialogue I think we will get over any teething problems quickly," he said.
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