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Analysis

It is too soon for anyone to predict what, if any, impact of Dell’s acquisition of EMC will have. Both companies use all types of channel partners, including but not limited to distributors, system integrators (SIs), global system integrators (GSIs), independent software vendors (ISVs), and value-added resellers (VARs), etc.

Both are a bit late to the channel, Dell later than EMC. By the time each entered the channel, HP, IBM, Cisco, and others, were well entrenched with the channel. When EMC joined the channel, they jumped in, head first, with a powerful push to get the channel business. Neuralytix believes that EMC was brave, given that they understood that these were unchartered waters for them. Rather than taking a fully prescriptive approach, EMC made changes adjustments as needed.

Dell joined after EMC, with the same intention but not the same gusto, but the same mindfulness of tweaking and modifying the program to continue to grow the indirect business. Dell uses distributors, but is more limited when compared to EMC.

Both companies have their core businesses as well as adjust ones such as security, analytics (EMC only), hypervisor/virtualization (EMC only), that have been brought into the channel portfolio as best as could to date. Interestingly all of these businesses were integrated through acquisitions, and of these acquisitions had worked with the channel prior to being bought! There was little if any disruption after the acquisitions so the companies engage wholly with the channel.

At this time, the same is true. The key difference is EMC will go private. Other than this, most key factors remain unchanged.

One of the big unknowns is the org chart of the “new company.” Partners are waiting to see who will lead the combined channel business.

HP learned this the hard way when they introduced its “hard deck” and “Channel 2000”. Partners who did not like this, let it be known.  HP heard this and reversed it. This is just an example, but HP is not alone. These types of changes have happened to others as well. These changes can be detrimental to the reputations of the vendors as a partner to the channel.

Guidance

The channel is a sales motion; one in which relationships matter – a lot. Our guidance to Dell/EMC is to keep the channel facing personnel as stable as possible at least initially (much like the approach of support services – please see our analysis on the impact of support services in light of the combined Dell/EMC).

While the final impact will not be known for a while, having stable channel sales force is of utmost importance. Partners do not like surprises – or fast changes without adequate time to adsorb and plan.

For now, the two programs are competitive in the market, but one area partners will be curious about is the product rationalization.   Will the product(s) they are selling now going to get spun off? Will the product(s) be merged with other similar products?  Dell should be providing partners a product roadmap as soon as possible.

Partners should be on the lookout for other changes outside of personnel and product. Rather than rely on the press, we guide our channel Clients to develop a deeper relationship with Dell.

Get time with the needed people to address any concerns or ask clarification on what the press is saying. It would be ideal if Dell set up some open format sessions to hear from partners, work with the directly with them, to show they do care and want their businesses.