When I spoke this week with Michael Kerr, directorof channels and business development for EMC Canada, our conversation focusedon changes and enhancements to incentives as part of the network infrastructurevendor’s partner program.

However, we also talked about the bignetworking/partner story of the month, the parting of ways of Cisco Systems andHewlett-Packard. EMC is already a strong competitor to HP in storage andnetworking equipment, a rivalry that was only intensified in 2009 when HPpoached EMC executive David Donatelli to lead its Enterprise Servers, Storageand Networking group. And EMC is also a strong Cisco partner, through itstechnology alliance to offer pre-configured solutions that also includesMicrosoft Corp. and VMware.

Kerr told me that since the Cisco/HP announcementthey’ve seen increased interest in EMC from partners that still want to workwith Cisco solutions but are looking for alternatives to HP to build into theofferings they take to their customers.

And it’s that alliance with Cisco and Microsoft,with the confidence its pre-tested and configured solutions offer, that’s attractingthem, said Kerr. With the increasing complexity of modern technology, partnersjust don’t have the bandwidth to support multiple competitive vendors andfigure-out how to bring them together.

“They’re looking for something that will work end-to-end,in a guaranteed fashion,” said Kerr. “A number of partners that were very loyaland have made good money and created a very strong business in the market todayare now talking to us, and are looking at changing their investments. If I’m areseller today I can’t support 20 vendors. With finite technical resources I canonly absorb so many vendors. A partner can no longer be completely agnostic toa client. We don’t believe that’s ultimately the model.”

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