EMC solutions partners get new rebates, special partner program access

EMC VARs have new incentives to sell EMC and VMware products together, and they can take advantage of benefits once available only to EMC's direct sales force.

EMC solutions partners will be able to earn double rebates for selling EMC and VMware products together -- one of several changes to the EMC Velocity Partner Program announced today.

The other major change is that, for the first time, EMC solutions partners are eligible to join the EMC Champions Program, which offers product roadmaps, access to beta products and other exclusive benefits. The program was formerly available only to EMC's internal sales team.

"The thing that we've encouraged EMC to do, and that they've embraced, is … to go to market with technology-led, bundled solutions," said Fred Traversi, president and CEO of Advizex Technologies, a Cleveland-based EMC solutions partner. "That's what all of these changes intend to do."

The changes are part of the regularly scheduled enhancements made to the EMC partner program every January and July. The moves are based on partner feedback, both informally and through advisory boards, said Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of global channel marketing. The goal of the VMware double rebate program is to "reward [EMC's] best partners and invite new ones in to share in the wealth," he said.

Traversi agreed that the rebates will encourage more EMC solutions partners to sell VMware. EMC storage competitors NetApp and EqualLogic (now Dell) have been doing a good job of co-selling their products with VMware for years, Traversi said.

"It puts EMC on a level playing field with the other storage providers," he said.

About 80% to 90% of EMC products that target midmarket customers are eligible for the rebates when sold with VMware products, Koliopoulos said. They include the Clariion, Centera and Celerra product lines, as well as attached storage, onboard replication and backup, recovery and archiving products.

The rebates give partners new opportunities to reinvest in their businesses, said Jack Kaiser, vice president of sales and marketing for International Computerware, an EMC solutions partner in Marlborough, Mass. Partners can hire additional employees to support their EMC and VMware business, offer more training for their staff and give added incentives to their sales teams. The rebates also give partners more flexibility when it comes to competing on price.

"There's a lot of good things we can do with the money," Kaiser said.

EMC -- which owns VMware but runs it as a separate entity -- first announced plans for joint EMC and VMware partner incentives in May.

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"Many of our partners have been selling VMware for a long time," Koliopoulos said.

Membership in the EMC Champions Program is open to EMC solutions partners that earn one of the new Authorized Services Network (ASN) Specialty designations. The ASN Specialty designations show that a partner has advanced competency in a specific area, and they give that partner more differentiation in the market, Koliopoulos said. There are three designations now available: backup, archiving and consolidation.

International Computerware is a top EMC backup and recovery partner, but without an ASN Specialty designation, "we felt that we were kind of lumped in with everyone else," Kaiser said, and these specialties will help the company differentiate itself.

Access to the EMC Champions Program will also give partners a competitive advantage, Traversi said.

"Anything that aligns us with the EMC field organization is a huge plus," he said.

EMC solutions partners that earn those designations must still apply to enroll in the EMC Champions Program.

"As our partners get deeper and deeper [into EMC's products and services], it made a lot of sense to open it up," Koliopoulos said.

EMC will accept "most, if not all" partners that apply for now, depending on their areas of specialty and geographic coverage, Koliopoulos said. Membership will become more selective over time, he added.

Other changes to the EMC partner program include a presales readiness program for technology architects, as well as new sales accreditations for EMC solutions partners.

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