EMC partners yowl in pain at new channel-chumship badge rules

Want to be a Platinum operator? Are you Computacenter? Ohh - too bad

EMC has let the cat among the pigeons, introducing eye-watering revenue thresholds for channel partner accreditations that some fear will relegate smaller tech-savvy resellers to the lower ranks.

Under the planned Business Partner programme overhaul, the storage titan has written to partners to tell them of the specific sales volume requirements as well as the skills pool they'll need to amass.

In the Solution Provider track, the Affiliate, Affiliate Elite, Premier and Signature Partners are to be replaced by the imaginatively entitled Silver, Gold and Platinum badges from 1 January next year.

"The criteria for these new tiers are very different from the current programme," stated the note from EMC Partner Programme Operations - which has been seen by El Chan.

Whereas revenue was not previously an element of accreditation, those achieving Silver status will need to turn over $1.25m worth of EMC kit/ services a year. They'll also need one sales person and one systems engineer (SE) to pass five tech foundation modules, and employ one certified technology architect.

The revenue requirement jumps to $15m for Gold, where resellers will need four sales bods and four SEs to sit tech foundation modules, and the same number again will be required to complete the EMC Hybrid Cloud and End User Services courses. The firm also wants these partners to have two certified tech architects and two implementation engineers.

The highest and most cumbersome tier to achieve is Platinum, where the sales threshold jumps to $65m, locking all but Computacenter out of the tier even before any technical resources are included.

Platinum operators will need nine sales and nine SEs to sit the foundation modules, the same amount again to complete the Hybrid Cloud and File Services piece, and under the technology certification track have five data centre specialists, two tech architects, one data scientist and one cloud expert.

The final element for Platinum is a requirement for five specialist and two expert implementation engineers.

The training is to be completed by 30 November and the revenue requirements by the end of the year, the EMC document stated.

Multiple partners contacted us to share their aggrieved feelings on the proposed changes, with several claiming that Computacenter is the only company of sufficient size to achieve the Platinum badge.

"Last year Computacenter had the best year ever with EMC, turning over $66m, so [on that basis] they'll be the only Platinum partner in the UK," said one, who also argued only a handful will make Gold level.

The source claimed Computacenter was the major beneficiary of direct customer accounts that EMC has passed to channel types in the last eighteen months, and this had contributed to its stellar EMC numbers.

Others complained the programme was likely written by someone in the US and is being distributed to EMC partners across the globe.

"How far did EMC test the global plans with partners before launch?" questioned one.

"The tiers are not weighted at the right levels," said another.

But one EMC loyalist claimed the firm is acting deliberately to work with fewer partners that transact the majority of its business.

"They are putting their eggs in fewer baskets and are willing to be flexible on the revenue thresholds for those they want to work with," said this individual.

EMC began courting the resellers after Dell ended the long standing OEM agreement between the pair, which contributed up to 70 per cent of the storage company's channel on "indirect" revenues.

To get more partners on board and work closely with existing ones, EMC tried to tame its direct sales reps that often came into conflict with channel types, by passing across customer accounts, threatening to penalise staff that flouted its rules of partner engagement and removing the ability for its own staff to quote customers pricing outside of ring-fenced direct accounts.

But as frustration boils over among some partners, EMC should refer to page one of the channel management manual: vendors must talk to partners more closely when making big changes that impact business. ®

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