EMC, “Federation” to offer joint solutions, link partner programs

Jeremy Burton, president of EMC’s Information Infrastructure business

Jeremy Burton, president of EMC’s Information Infrastructure business

LAS VEGAS – While there have always been close links, including ownership, between EMC, VMware, RSA, Pivotal, and VCE, this year’s EMC World made it clear that those links are getting a lot closer.

One of the omnipresent themes of the event this year was the emergence of what EMC calls “the Federation,” that group of allied companies that remain independent, but will increasingly find more ways to work together. And for the first time, that will include bringing joint solutions to market and closely aligning partner programs.

Jeremy Burton, president of EMC’s Information Infrastructure business, said the increased links are being driven by customer demands for more complete solutions, particularly as more IT budget – and therefore decision-making – falls into the hands of line-of-business leadership.

That’s what’s driving the development of a series of what EMC calls EVP (EMC VMware Pivotal) solutions that will pre-package offerings from the member companies into stacks, with RSA’s security throughout. Currently, the company is either working on or has launched EVP Solutions around the Software-Defined Data Centre, Platform-as-a-Service, Virtual Workspace, and Business Data Lakes. He stressed that although the companies will work together closely on those solutions, they will remain independent of each other, particularly when it comes to one part of the Federation working with partners who are competitors of other parts of the group.

“We’ve got this model of a federation of companies that are aligned on strategy but free to operate independently,” Burton said. “But there are some things we want to do, that we would do if we were a single, integrated company. That’s the genesis of a lot of this solution work.”

In EMC’s newly-announced partner program, the Federation looms large. For the first time, similar specializations across the companies will each be recognized by each member when a partner qualifies for one. There are also additional incentives in place for partners selling joint-Federation solutions.

“We are uniquely positioned to harness the power of the Federation,” said Fred Kohout, vice president of worldwide partner marketing at EMC. “The ability to continue to integrate solutions, to integrate and connect programs, and to go to market in a singular and aligned motion is really valuable to us.”

But the value is far from fully realized, Kohout said. He described the current cross-Federation partner efforts as “the first phase,” and advises partners to expect to see a lot more in the future.

“We see the opportunity for deeper integration, more collaboration, more meat in the channel and meat in the partner programs within the Federation,” he said. “We’ll continue to develop that over time.”

In the future, all parties involved will build out their partner programs with cross-Federation links in mind, but Kohout was quick to echo the reminder that like the companies themselves, the members’ partner programs will come closer but remain independent. There is no chance, for example, that VMware’s partner program will eventually roll up into the EMC structure.

“These are independent operating companies, and we’re really clear that they will have partnerships across the industry,” Kohout said. “We just happen to think we have a unique opportunity to connect these programs together and create benefits for our partners.”