EMC to Retire Velocity Partner Programs

EMC global channel chief Gregg Ambulos

EMC global channel chief Gregg Ambulos

2013 will be the last year for EMC’s Velocity partner programs. Kicking off its second-ever Global Partner Summit in Las Vegas Monday morning, the storage giant announced plans to replace the various Velocity programs with a combined partner program that will brand all of the company’s partner base as EMC Business Partners.

In recent years, the storage giant has rolled out a number of partners under the Velocity brand for solution providers and service providers. It has also held separate programs for alliances, professional services, and technology partners.

Gregg Ambulos, the company’s global head of channel sales, said the change is designed to let all classes of partners more closely align themselves with the EMC brand.

“The name Velocity goes away, all of you market yourself as EMC Business Partners with all the equity and all of the clout of EMC behind you,” Ambulos said.

Along with the new name, Ambulos suggested at least one additional change was on the way. He announced that the company’s PowerLink site will be replaced by a new partner portal by a new partner portal, as well as new mobile apps for the EMC Business Partner program.

The Velocity program has been EMC’s main vehicle to connect with the channel community coming off of what Jeremy Burton, executive vice president of product operations and marketing at EMC, called “the dark days” of EMC’s tight partnership with Dell. That relationship was largely severed over a number of storage-focused acquisitions by Dell that made the two increasingly more competitors than allies, and prompted EMC to embrace the channel, whereas before it had been primarily focused on direct sales and ultimately the Dell relationship.

And Velocity has done its job – depending on whom at EMC you ask, the company either between 50 and 60 per cent of its revenues via partners. And although he declined to specify a targeted long/term balance between channel and direct sales, CEO Joe Tucci told attendees in Las Vegas that the percentage will continue to grow, and that it will continue to grow intentionally.

But the company clearly feels it’s time to bring all of its partner constituents under one roof, and to more clearly attach the company’s brand to that program.

And of course, even a unified partner program will still have some fragmentation. At the very least, in addition to EMC Business Partner, the company will have a partner program brand for VMware, and one for its VCE joint venture with Cisco.

And there may be at least one more partner program to consider in the EMC family. In response to a partner question, Tucci told attendees to keep their eyes open for a formal partner program from EMC’s latest business, the Pivotal big-data company it spun up along with VMware last month. Today, he said, all of the various parts of the Pivotal stack are available to partners through various partner programs, but Tucci acknowledge the company has to do more for its partners.

“We have great pieces, but we haven’t stitched those great pieces together for you,” Tucci told partners.

He said he expects to see that level of product integration into a Pivotal suite, as well as a partner program from the spinoff led by Paul Maritz, by the end of 2013.

Further details of the EMC Business Partner launch, and the transition from Velocity, are expected to be announced in the near future.