EMCs New Channel Approach Pays Off

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2007-05-21 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Partners say EMC's new management team and fresh perspective are having a positive effect on the front-line troops selling the hardware, software and services.

ORLANDO, Fla.— For EMCs VARs and channel partners, Jan. 1, 2007 was the dawn of a new era. According to those in the know, EMC and its network of outside partners are now seeing the role of the channel in the same perspective. It might be called an "Age of Alignment," based on the testimonies of some of the storage giants best independent resellers and service technicians. "The big thing I noticed this year is that EMC surveyed us [VARs] and heard from the channel what they wanted to change, but they also facilitated a lot of change," Keith Norbie, storage director for Nexus Information Systems, in Plymouth, Minn., told eWEEK in an interview here. "They changed many issues. Its a night-and-day difference from Dec. 31."
What is different now? Simple. VARs and channel partners are finding it easier to deal with the huge conglomerate, thanks to a new EMC partner management regime, and they are making more money. Cant go wrong with either of those results.
"It wasnt that things were all bad, its just they have created a better marketplace identity for us," Norbie said. "But things are now in alignment between EMC and the VARs. The high-end VARs lifeblood has always been services, as a differentiation. There used to be some contention when a deal got to be a tie [between the VAR or a direct-to-EMC sale]. EMC has backed off this contention; thats all gone now." EMC says it plans to offer on-demand online storage. Click here to read more. EMC also has started promoting partners as service providers and acting as a resource organization, Norbie said. "Theyre helping to fund [sales] events, giving us ideas for events ... and its not just like those mailers they used to send out that have no impact on the business, its stuff that actually drives mindset. We had over 100 clients recently in an event surrounding a movie premiere—they delivered a solution theme around next-generation backup and data recovery," Norbie said. Norbie said this new approach has brought a noticeable difference to his $28 million companys bottom line. "Id say that 80 to 90 percent of our new revenue is driven by new service business," he said. "The client at the end of the day just wants an unbiased opinion on whats really going on. The thing is, youve got to be able to talk independently at that point. Youve got to be able to cut the cord and provide stand-alone value. That comes directly from your engineering horsepower. To be able to take services down without conflict … helps tremendously," Norbie said. Jamie Shepard of Boston-based professional services provider International Computerware, a Premier EMC Channel Partner, said his companys EMC revenue has grown "tremendously" in just the last 12 months—largely because of the new changes. "For me, the biggest change has been in the people EMC have put in to run the channel," Shepard told eWEEK. "Where before the running of the channel was left to mostly administrative people who liked to meet, talk and have lunch, the new folks in there understand and know how to run a sales campaign." "Theyve put in former district managers and sales people who know how to execute—thats the key word here. With them here, credibility goes through the roof." Shepard, whose 25-year-old company became an EMC partner two and a half years ago, said service sales grew from $4 million in 2005 to $8 million in 2006. "Were on a track to earn $12 million this year," Shepard said. "And its almost 100 percent service business." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.
Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on Salesforce.com and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and DevX.com and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel