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New EMC partner program rolled out at Global Partner Summit

At the EMC Global Partner Summit, vendor EMC introduces its channel partners to an extensively restructured, refocused partner program.

LAS VEGAS -- Today at the EMC Global Partner Summit, being held here this week in conjunction with EMC World 2014, the vendor introduced the EMC Business Partner Program, a major revamp of its existing partner program slated to go live in January 2015.

Calling it a "clean sheet design" with the underpinnings to make it simpler, more predictable and profitable for partners to do business with EMC, Fred Kohout, vice president of global partner marketing at EMC, noted that the new EMC partner program is the first major redesign of its partner program in a dozen years.

The foundation of the EMC partner program unifies of all the company's partner programs under a single umbrella and shifts the company's focus to high-value solutions and services, including the emerging "third-platform" technologies -- cloud, big data, mobile and social -- with greater financial rewards and enablement for partners who invest more with EMC.

Today's unveiling of the Business Partner Program structure, which includes a comprehensive array of new features and/or enhancements to existing ones, gives partners time to see where they fit and what they need to do to ready their businesses to align with the new partner program prior to the official rollout in January.

The EMC Business Partner Program includes six tracks: EMC resell, distribution, cloud service provider, system integrator, outsourcer and RSA SecurWorld.

The vendor redefined the program tiers and added a new elite Platinum tier, for a total of three tiers: Silver, Gold and Platinum, with criteria and relevance advancing as partners move from Silver to Platinum.

According to EMC, Silver-level partners must demonstrate foundational knowledge to sell and market EMC products. At the Gold level, partners must also have advanced capabilities to architect and sell solutions based on EMC technology and services, and Platinum partners must demonstrate capabilities and resources as industry experts in the cloud and big data markets.

Also, as part of the program rollout, EMC optimized a number of elements of its partner program.

For starters, the company updated its partner portal a few months ago. The new portal consolidates 47 disparate websites into a single point of entry for all partner resources.

EMC did a similar thing with its training and curriculum, consolidating different sites, removing redundant or overlapping material and relocating resources in the Business Partner Academy.

Partners will find a new Marketing Academy that houses core marketing essentials, social media resources, demand-generation materials, best practices and services, for example.

Underpinning all of EMC's engagement with partners are new solutions and service opportunities. Over the next three days at EMC World, the company will provide details on five new solutions -- both EMC-only products and federated products, such as those from the EMC, VMware and Pivotal (EVP) initiative. And for the first time, EMC is sharing its consulting methodologies, best practices, tools and resources for services.

"This is a very big change for us. This is for partners who want to gain skills to sell and/or implement services," Kohout said.

Finally, EMC partners in partner programs with its "federated companies" will be able to accumulate more benefits. Partners will be able to share training credentials or competencies across programs aand partners who go deep in federated solutions will get additional rewards such as stackable rebates.

"The notion here is that if a partner is going to go deep and broad with EMC, we will reward that regardless of the partner's business model," Kohout said.

EMC's David Abelow, senior director for business partner programs, addressed what's new for solution providers and CSPs.

When the new EMC partner program rolls out in 2015, solution providers can expect to see a more predictable rebate model with compensation based on meeting their company's top-line revenue goals -- without a focus on specialty or product or any other area.

For the first time, EMC partners at all tier levels will have minimum revenue requirements, in addition to training and certification requirements. Gold- and Platinum-level partners will also be required to be able to cross-sell products from EMC, EVP and VCE, and Platinum-level partners will be required to have solution centers, which are virtual or physical showcases of EMC and EVP products. Platinum partners must also be able to do business in more than one geographic "theater."

Platinum-level partners will have access to EMC services methodology from across EMC and the federation to develop their own services capabilities.

Abelow pointed out that EMC designed the benefits to deliver profits and make the business predictable for solution providers. The company also built solutions and the support of those solutions in its partner program tracks. EMC will help those partners that are already in doing business around third-platform technologies and will support and enable other partners moving toward the third platform, he said.

EMC also rearchitected the CSP go-to-market engagement model. The vendor more than tripled the number of internal account reps to support CSPs, doubled its marketing investment, introduced Cloud Partner Connect to match up CSPs and solution providers, set up a CSP bid desk for lead referral, reduced the number of requirements for CSPs and added formal tiering, to name some of the changes.

"We recognized that CSP success … becomes our success as well," Abelow said.

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