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Day One Blockbuster: EMC Partners Fast-Tracked Into Dell Channel Program

Dell is grandfathering EMC partners into the Dell Partner Direct channel program at their current level, according to solution providers who have been briefed on the strategy.

The new strategy means EMC’s top partners join the Dell program with their current top-tier status, giving them all the pricing, discounts and MDF made available to top Dell partners, according to a high-ranking executive at a national solution provider that works with both Dell and EMC.

EMC partners said the move should accelerate Dell sales within EMC’s partner ranks on day one of the landmark merger.

“It shows enormous sensitivity to the partner community,” said one solution provider executive. “They’ve done a really good job of paying attention. There are still a lot of questions, but my expectation is that we’re going to be happily surprised with what comes out in February.”

Dell executives have said the companies’ channel programs will be run in parallel until Feb. 1, when Dell’s fiscal year begins. By then, the company expects to have established a single program.

[Related: Dell Enterprise Boss Haas Promises 'White-Glove' Treatment For EMC Partners]

Asked about the move to grandfather EMC partners into Dell's channel program just after the merger closed Wednesday, Dell COO and President of Enterprise Solutions Marius Haas said only that Dell would “take some immediate actions on the EMC side to make sure we do everything we possibly can to really, really embrace our new ecosystem.”

“The rationale [for the move] is that it allows EMC partners an opportunity to get EMC resold on Dell paper right away,” said a top executive at a large Dell solution provider. “Dell is in a unique position to have a lot of flexibility in how they build the channel program.”

Dell began explaining the move to channel partners over the past few days. The deference to EMC partners allows Dell to bring EMC partners into the Dell fold in a way that keeps them from defecting to competitors such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, according to solution providers.

The strategy is not a two-way street, however. Top-tier Dell partners do not have the opportunity to automatically enroll as top-tier EMC partners. “It’s deference to the EMC partner community, and maybe that deference is so they don’t run to HPE. HPE is making a lot of noise about singing up EMC partners and giving them top tier,” said a solution provider executive who works with both Dell and EMC.

“It is really more of courtesy to EMC partners. [Dell partners] lose our advantage, but all it really means is that [EMC partners] will have access to the same pricing, discounts and MDF. If they don’t know how to sell [Dell solutions], if they’re not engaged with Dell field teams – they have to book through the Dell program and quote it through the Dell program – they’re not going to figure it out in five minutes. It’s a nice courtesy to EMC partners under pressure from HPE, which is throwing a lot of FUD out there,” said the executive.

Under the Dell Technologies umbrella, the company’s PC business will operate as Dell, while its Infrastructure Solutions business will be known collectively as Dell-EMC. The deal also includes VMware, which was 80 percent owned by EMC and will continue to run as a separate business unit.

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.

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