EMC outlines plans to be "more channel friendly"

EMC is publishing a 'Rules of Engagement' document for partners and designating small and mid-market businesses as channel only to reduce conflict with its direct sales force.

EMC is publishing a 'Rules of Engagement' document for partners and designating small and mid-market businesses as channel only to reduce conflict with its direct sales force.

The storage behemoth last week rolled out more than 40 products including for the first time specific SKUs for channel partners selling to the mid-market, projected to be the fastest growing customer segment for the next three years.

The reseller push is also given fresh impetus by EMC's flagging partnership with Dell, initially disrupted by the acquisition of EqualLogic and again more recently the addition of Compellent.

Talking to MicroScope, Nicolas Leblanc, EMEA channels and mid-market director at EMC, said "We are having a more channel friendly go to market across EMEA."

The feedback from a MicroScope poll of resellers highlighted frustrations with EMC centring on its inconsistent partnering model, with deals lost to the direct sales team.

Responding to this Leblanc said: "consistency is definitely something that we are improving".

To this end, EMC is releasing Rule of Engagement for partners in every country across EMEA to outline the boundaries of where it expects partner to lead.

"We are putting resources to help support [tier one] partners to go after under penetrated enterprise accounts. Below this is a hard deck, protecting the mid-market and SME business as a channel-only go to market," he said.

EMC is no longer investing in sales reps to manage mid-market customers, he added, and will spend that money on partner reps to "create the push and pull", while the vendor also plans to extend deal registration.

The VNXe 3100 will be a pure channel play with the direct force unable to quote on it, and Leblanc claimed that while it had specific promotions for resellers including rebate incentives, "We didn't have channel SKUS".

According to IDC, the $75,000 price band is forecast to grow 6% to 15% per annum over the next three years and

Leblanc believed it could take market share by "being more aggressive [with rivals] and channel friendly".

Partners account for 70% of EMC global revenues, claimed Leblanc. However sales from its relationships with Dell, Fujitsu and reseller partners are included in that stat. EMC refused to specify the exact split.

Alastair Edwards, principal analyst at Canalys, said the challenge facing EMC is akin to the cultural barriers that Dell encountered as it was moving from a direct sales business model.

"My assessment is that any attempts to increase the focus on the channel have clashed with the direct DNA of the business," he said, "EMC needs to prove its commitment to the channel."

"The Dell relationship is under pressure, if EMC loses a chunk of what it is classifying as indirect business, it needs to replace that. In some respects it is forcing them to look at the channel," he added.

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