New flexible consumption models, incumbency protection highlight Dell EMC channel changes

Partner presence at this year’s event increased massively over anything at either the Dell or EMC events, or the initial joint event in Austin last fall.

The Red Hot Chili Pipers, playing hard rock on bagpipes, at the Partner Summit

LAS VEGAS — At the 2017 Dell EMC Global Partner Summit on the first day of Dell EMC World here, the company announced some significant changes to its partner program – with some more to come. The key ones were the expansion of partner incumbencies designed to protect partners from Dell’s direct arm beyond storage, and the expansion of flexible consumption models beyond converged infrastructure into Dell’s hyper-converged lines.

The changes, the first significant ones to the new program since it was formally launched in February, were imparted by Dell EMC Global Channel President John Byrne and his channels team to a much larger partner audience than had ever been in place at a Dell or EMC event.

“We have over 4000 partners here,” said Cheryl Cook, Senior Vice President, Channel Marketing, Dell EMC. “Last year in Austin, at the first Dell EMC event, it was 1500. The venue in Austin only had so much hotel capacity in the city to support it. So we were more limited in the number of people who could come, and the event was much more North American-centric in terms of partner participation.”

When the Dell and EMC partner programs came together in February, one change that concerned some partners was the removal of the hard deck that EMC had formerly used, which specified the top tier accounts where the company would sell direct, and left everything below that as partner territory. To deal with these concerns, the new program established infrastructure incumbencies for partners who had already been working with customers specifically in the storage space.

“What we have done now is expand these infrastructure incumbencies to networking and servers in the commercial segment, besides storage,” Cook said. “We initially established the storage protection to alleviate engagement concerns among partners concerned about the removal of the EMC hard deck. We wanted to assure them that we would not compete with them.”

This protection is defined by the partner’s past activity.

“It is established as a historical look-back, in accounts served by the partner in the last six months,” Cook said.

The new server and networking protection goes live May 22.

The company also announced a new client incumbency, which also goes live on May 22, but the rules are different.

“The storage, server and networking incumbencies are based on past activity,” Cook said. “In contrast, the client incumbency is forward looking.” It applies to net-new business, either for new customers, or new business on inactive accounts.

The other big announcement revolves around the extension of flexible consumption models – CloudFlex – within Dell EMC’s storage business.

“Up to now it has been available for all partners to leverage on converged infrastructure,” Cook said “It has now been extended to our hyper-converged lines. It is available now on VXRail and the XC [Nutanix] series, and will be available on the VXRack soon.”

“VXRail is effectively a cloud in a box – and is now with zero money down,” Michael Dell quipped.

Dell EMC isn’t done yet with the flexible consumption models.

“A flexible consumption model for clients is also being developed,” Cook acknowledged.

Several other programmatic announcements of note were made from the stage at the Partner Summit – around clients and cloud – but these are still formally under news embargo until later on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Thus, even though every single one of the 4000 plus partners at the event should be well aware of the news – and Dell EMC has already posted the information on at least one blog, effectively busting their own embargo – ChannelBuzz will report the news when it formally goes live.

Cook also highlighted new Dell EMC marketing initiatives impacting partners.

“We just launched our marketing platform, which does all the content syndication for partners,” she said. “All of the content is modular. If you want completely turnkey, you can do that. If you want modular components so you can take elements and put them in your own campaigns, or do co-branding, you can do that too.”

Cook also noted the launch of the Marketing Institute, a new curriculum and training module which is compulsory for tier eligibility – although the requirement is not particularly onerous.

“Partners need a single person to be accredited on this for their Tier eligibility,” she said. “It requires taking three courses.”

Cook said that while legacy EMC had a marketing academy, it was based more around MDF.

“With this, we’ve taken it a step further on how to do effective social media,” she said. “Over time, we  want to leverage more of our best practices. Most partners do want the help.”