EMC's revamped channel has a lot of fans, but not everyone is happy

EMC's efforts haven't mollified some in the channel whose experience with the storage giant generated more bitterness than profit.

Click here to read the first part of this profile of EMC's channel partner program.

EMC's Bumpy Ride

Not all solution providers have experienced phenomenal results from EMC's program.

"EMC is arguably the single worst company I've worked with," said Roger Tausig, president and CEO of Imaging Solutions Inc., an 18-person solution provider in Wallingford, Conn. "They are the most partner-hostile company you could imagine."

Imaging Solutions -- which became an EMC partner when the vendor acquired Application Extender content-management software owner Legato -- has encountered channel conflict and accused EMC of taking over one of its most lucrative and ongoing accounts with Pitney-Bowes, Tausig said. "Once they latch onto a forecasted deal, if you as a partner are not closing the deal in the time you projected, you come under intense pressure and sometimes -- they've done it to me -- they go direct to the customers,which is a big no-no," he said. "They just want to make the deal. They'll do anything to coerce the deal in the timeframe they require. That sort of thing is not beneath them."

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In addition, Imaging Solutions has ensured slow payment in situations where the solution provider is a sub-contractor, and has spent many hours proving it had paid for product when EMC combined multiple accounting systems from vendors it had acquired, Tausig said. In the case of Pitney-Bowes, Imaging Solutions had bid a contract at $700,000; EMC bid $425,000, he said.

"After their 30% off our commission, we got about $125,000 instead of $700,000," said Tausig. "It's become evident that not enough money was assigned. The customer will wind up paying $700,000. With any luck we'll get $300,00 to $350,000 of that, but we did 90% of the work."

An EMC spokesman briefed on the charges responded with the following prepared statement:

    "EMC is focused on increasing partner profitability and improving ease of doing business for our loyal partner base. In 2007 we are investing in many aspects of the EMC Velocity Partner Program and Authorized Services Network to enable our partners to more easily identify new business opportunities, capture more services revenue, and be more self sufficient in each deal."
    -- Pete Koliopoulos, Vice President, Global Channel Marketing.

Happy Trails


In interviews, however, Koliopoulos said EMC intends to avoid the potential for such conflicts.

"EMC is focused on increasing partner profitability and improving ease of doing business for our loyal partner base. In 2007 we are investing in many aspects of the EMC Velocity Partner Program and Authorized Services Network (ASN) to enable our partners to more easily identify new business opportunities, capture more services revenue, and be more self-sufficient in each deal," he said.

From MICRO Technology Group Inc.'s standpoint, EMC is doing a good job of working with partners, said Steve Katsman, vice president and partner at the Bristol, Pa.-based 30-employee K-12 and desktop publishing solution provider.

When EMC acquired Danz it also got MICRO Technology -- and the two organizations worked hard to ensure the relationship was successful and profitable, Katsman said. "Both of us were proactive in developing the relationship," he said. "You really do feel you're part of the team. I think they've gotten a lot better. They're engaging their partners more."

Although the unqualified leads MICRO Technology receives from EMC's website seldom translate into real deals, the vendor does a great job of providing free demo products and co-marketing opportunities, and keeping partners abreast of technology evolution, said Katsman.

"They make it attractive for us to use their software. With EMC, they automatically give you all the software as a dealer," he said. "We're doing a trade show together. You can see when a company puts in some effort. It is completely a two-way street with all vendors."

And while MICRO Technology has heard of prior conflict between EMC's direct and indirect sales groups, that is changing, said Katsman. "They are engaging the local reseller," he said. "They know who's working with their products."

That is indeed the case, added International Computerware Inc.(ICI)'s Jaime Shepard. "Everyone will be working in unison -- both EMC and the channel. I'm hearing it every day," he said. "This is the message and they're sending it out clearly. They're doing what they said. A year from now, you're going to see a different company."

Click here to read the first part of this profile of EMC's channel partner program.

Company Name: EMC Corp.
Headquarters: Hopkinton, Mass.
Founded: 1979
URL: www.emc.com
Phone: 508-435-1000
Technologies Developed: Storage Hardware & Information Management Software
Tiered Program Name: EMC Velocity² Partner Program
Tiers: Associate, Advantage, Premier, Signature & Velocity SMB Partner Program for SMB
Number of Partners: 3,200 worldwide
Percent sold through channel: More than 50% "touched by the Channel"
Number of Distributors: 6 in North America
Senior channel exec's Name: Mitch Breen
Title: Senior Vice President, Global Channel Sales
No. of Years at EMC: 20

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