As the new Dell EMC settles into its new reality as a unified company, channel partners can be assured that the new unified partner program is off to an impressive start.

At Dell EMC World last year, Dell EMC Global Channel Chief John Byrne laid out his vision for the new program and the tight timetable the team had allowed for it. By December, he said, Dell EMC partners would know how their legacy status would transfer to the new program. And while he said they hoped the full program would be released by February, he made sure to leave some wiggle room, just in case.

It turns out it wasn’t necessary for Byrne to hedge his bets. Today, Dell EMC formally launched the new program, which execs say takes the best of each legacy program to create an ambitious, lucrative system designed to make partners money and protect their deal registrations.

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“It was an ambitious schedule, but I'm really proud of our team and just delighted in the collaborative approach of our partner community and the willingness and openness with which they've given us feedback,” Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances, told The VAR Guy. “We genuinely wanted to hold ourselves to the idea of simple, predictable and profitable. Now it's all about execution. Let's just go get busy and aligned in the field, and just sell.”

Legacy partners have been status-matched into the new program, and the details released today further expand on what partners need to do to retain that status through the year.

The new program offers two paths to eligibility to accommodate different types of partners. Some like to operate deeply in one specific product or area, while others wish to explore the breadth of Dell EMC’s portfolio. In either case, Dell EMC wants its partners to push its products hard, and it’s dangling some big financial carrots to make that happen.

The company is offering handsome rewards for partners who invest in storage, with rebates nearly twice what was offered in the legacy EMC program and new incentives for hyperconverged and converged infrastructure solution sales.

Within the rebate framework is a base rebate for participation and product resale, but Cook said that this program is focused on rewarding growth. To that end, partners will earn a base rebate up to the revenue target they’ve been given, with an accelerated rebate earnings opportunity after they’ve obtained 100 percent of that initial target.

The company is also looking to reward the addition of complimentary services into partners’ portfolios. “It drives a very positive customer experience,” said Cook, “and profitability for both Dell EMC and our partners. We really want to reward our partners for driving and focusing on services—and we want new business.”

Dell EMC is looking to leverage every penny they can out of that $67 billion merger, and is encouraging partners to cross-sell and upsell wherever they can. The new business incentive is applicable to legacy Dell or EMC partners that expand services and products within existing accounts rather than selling competing products from rivals like HPE or Cisco. To help partners grow their offerings, the company has made significant investments in marketing enablement for partners.

“We have also invested in MDF, recognizing that to achieve this kind of growth, we've got to have the complimentary supportive demand generation and uncovering leads and developing the pipeline of opportunities. So we've increased our MDF by 8 percent year-on-year, and actually the proposal-based MDF is up by a third,” said Cook.

Dell EMC has also expanded in its incumbency. Initially, the company said it would provide line of business incumbency for storage, which has now been expanded to include servers and networking. Cook said that means there will be certain accounts in the company’s commercial market segment that are deemed “partner led.” The incumbency aspects of the program refer back to Byrne’s reassurances back in December that there would be zero tolerance when it came to deal registration violations.

“These will be accounts that have primarily have been served by the channel and that partners have been selling storage or servers in there, and we will flag them in our sales force instance, which offers protection to the partner community, that our direct sales is not going to compete with them.”

In an effort to simplify the program, the company will release on February 20 a common unified portal for deal registration, campaign chips, logo kits, program guides and training information.

Cook says the new program takes the best of each program to create an aggressive, industry-leading program that will help cement Dell EMC and partners’ place at the top of the enterprise IT food chain. “I think in the rebates structure you can see a little bit of Dell in there, which is predictability. I think in the training you'll see aspects of both. We maintained EMC individual competencies—candidly, they had an industry recognized training program—while at the same time Dell gave company designation around competency and specific skills.”

Sonia St. Charles, CEO of Davenport Group, told The VAR Guy the new program lives up to its marketing promises of being simple, predictable and profitable. A Dell partner since 2008, St. Charles said that while the previous Dell program was very robust and generously rewarded sales activity focused on their storage, server and network products, its level of complexity was frustrating. “It was difficult to accurately predict your rebate level,” she said. “Dell EMC did a great job of listening to their channel partners and designing a program that addressed all of our concerns.”

In a video released online, Michael Dell reassured partners of Dell EMC’s commitment to its channel. “Make no mistake, the channel matters very much to me personally, and to every member of our team. We’re investing $4.5 billion annually in research and development to ensure we are your very best partner today and in the future.”