Mathias Rosenthal - Fotolia
The tie-up with Dell might be looming over EMC at the moment but that does not stop the storage giant from developing channel plans and evolving its approach to partners.
Since the move by Dell to acquire EMC became public it has been hard to think about anything else other than the future and what the consequences could be for partners. But there is still plenty happening right now that is of great importance to the channel.
Over at Dell they are continuing to grow indirect revenues and now can boast more than 70% of the enterprise business in Europe going via a partner.
Over at EMC the mission for the UK channel boss Kevin Sparks is around making sure it has the best coverage of the UK and its partners are able to work together to make sure they do not miss any opportunities.
Sparks has been at EMC for five years and has been in the channel post for five months and has been impressed with the infrastructure he has inherited.
Where he wants to develop things is to ensure it has the geographical and vertical coverage across the UK
"From a partner landscape perspective I have observed that we need better coverage across the UK. We have the scale, there's a significant number of trading partners, but from our mid-market perspective we need better coverage," he said.
"By coverage I am also open to the idea of partners that are specialised. They can either specialise in a certain vertical market or a capability," he added "We need a more ambitious plan for the UK and I want to be more inclusive, so specialising can be good you don't necessarily have to be a goliath to be loved."
One of the key areas for development is collaboration between partners to make sure that those with different skills can combine to deliver a solution to the customer.
"We have partners that have specific skills and focus areas and if we can bring this community together where each partner can leverage each other's intellectual property that can only be a good thing," he said.
He said that unless a partner could give a customer a picture of a complete solution there was a risk that the relationship with the user would be undermined if there were large gaps left to be filled in.
When it comes to the main targets for the channel Sparks is encouraging partners to help customers with their continuing move towards the cloud as most look for help getting the balance of a hybrid solution right for their business.
"As you go through the mid-market to the enterprise what you see is that the obvious workloads have already gone off-site as a managed hosted service or a cloud and customers need help to take the next step. Mission critical workloads will still be on site and there is opportunity for transformation there and I speak to customers who want to go to cloud and they are not quite sure how so that's where our professional services capability coupled with an intelligent and educated channel community will bring a much greater experience to those customers," he said.
Inevitably EMC partners will be trying to work out what life could be like after the Dell acquisition is completed and although it is not possible to provide a lot of detail the overall feeling from Sparks was that it would be a good move for its partners.
"You have got two very strong brands with exceptional portfolio. When you put the two companies together they are massively complementary and there is not a massive overlap. So when you put two companies together with a complimentary portfolio and build more complete solutions for the customers we see the opportunity to invest and strengthen that partner ecosystem together," he said.
Looking ahead Sparks said he was very optimistic about next year because there was some pent-up demand that was going to be unlocked when customers felt comfortable about how to move to the cloud.