The top line on page one of the Vendor Channel Management Handbook is all about listening to and acting upon advice from partners. EMC’s US management might want to re-read this.
The storage titan has finally climbed down on a heavily criticised element introduced to the global Business Partner Programme that was launched last year - cumbersome revenue thresholds.
Much to the chagrin of many channel partners, last January EMC moved away from using technical certs to determine the accreditation each partner achieved and based it instead on sales volumes.
To qualify for the Platinum and Gold tier in 2015, integrators needed to turn over $65m and $15m respectively with EMC. Tiering dictates rebates so the response from partners was negative, as they felt they couldn’t convince customers to spend that much with EMC.
Fast-forward to 2016 and EMC has finally acted on feedback from the Partner Advisory Board (PAB) - the targets have fallen nearly 30 per cent to $45m for Platinum and more than 46 per cent to $8m for Gold.
Phillipe Fosse, EMC EMEA channel overlord, said there was no historic number to base the thresholds on, “they were difficult to set, we took a risk and set targets where we thought they should be”.
Channel people we spoke to said the targets were set by the US management team and distributed worldwide. “They not well received over here,” said one Gold-badge wearer.
Another complained EMC didn’t recognise the “true value” that small and mid-sized sales companies that “proactively” sell EMC brought to the table. “So the focus on EMC diminished”.
Fosse said the changes were “not a revolution”; he described them as “an adjustment due to the feedback we got from the PAB”. He said channel people should be more interested in other improvements.
EMC also rejigged the bonus accelerators, meaning channel types get more money, more quickly; it has separated services and product targets that were criticised for being “too complicated”; and it has upped the rebates Silver partner can earn from one to 1.5 per cent.
“We had a lot of growth from smaller partners in the last year, some of these were companies that had a higher status with our competitors so we felt they didn’t pay them enough at the back-end,” said Fosse.
EMC will also review the status of a channel partner on a six-monthly rather than yearly basis to reflect sales progress, or - god forbid - lack of it.
And to help ease communications between the direct sales rep at EMC and channel sellers, the CRM system was overhauled in favour of a single customer quoting tool, My Quote, launched this month.
The last update EMC is making is to bring VCE’s channel programme into BPP - this follows Cisco withdrawing its stake in VCE and EMC upping its respective stake. This should be completed by the end of calendar Q1. ®