Dell EMC is giving partners a glimpse into how they’ll rank in the new combined partner program when it launches Feb 1. Following president of global channels John Byrne’s pledge at Dell EMC World earlier this year to be as transparent as possible, the company released further details on how Dell or EMC partners’ current ranking will translate in the new unified program.

Cheryl Cook, vice president of global channels and alliances, told The VAR Guy that the company is trying to stay consistent around the timelines and approach Byrne outlined as it races toward the February deadline to pull the merged program together.

“We said that we’d share with [partners] in December where they map into the new program,” said Cook. “For example, if you were a silver level EMC business partner, or you were a preferred level Dell partner, you would map into the Gold level business model. It’s essentially a status match.”

The company is also introducing a Titanium Black level, which Cook described as an invitation-only program with some concierge-like benefits and elevated customer support. Partners that qualify for Titanium Black will be notified this week.

Cook said that partners that are members of both Dell’s and EMC’s programs will be given the benefit of whichever status is higher, but should know there will be detailed criteria forthcoming in the next few weeks as to what will be required for them to maintain that status.

Because EMC’s fiscal year ends in December and Dell’s ends in January, EMC partners will essentially be given a “bonus month” so both programs can get on the same schedule. They will continue to earn rebates and accrue MDF in January at the same rate and toward the same targets as December.

In addition, Dell EMC is addressing its distribution partners. “They’re clearly a strategic part of our whole ecosystem and framework,” said Cook. “We want to make sure that we’re launching very supportive and strategically aligned distributor program benefits and awards to be able to support their solution providers that they’re covering, and also drive a little more consistency globally toward the overall framework.”

To this end, the company is introducing a more simplified distributor partner program that aims to establish consistency of benefits between value-added distributors and broadline distributors.

Also in the name of simplicity, Cook said, the two programs will have a combined partner portal experience with single sign on coming in February, along with common deal registration.

Byrne’s assertion at Dell EMC World that the combined company would have “zero tolerance” for deal registration violations by internal salespeople was met with a healthy dose of skepticism from Dell’s partners, several of whom have told The VAR Guy that they’ve heard that before.

Cook said that frankly, EMC has historically been better about protecting deal registrations than Dell has. “Going forward, we’re adopting a much stronger, I think reinforced message from a sales perspective on the Dell side. We’ve got a couple of examples where we’ve had some infractions and consequences have happened. We’ve had people actually terminated.”

On a personal level, Cook told The VAR Guy that as difficult as it is to bring two huge companies together, she’s encouraged how strategically likeminded the leadership team is. “Greg Ambulos, John Byrne, myself, Jim Defoe—we’ve been huddled for the last three months building and defining this. We just strategically see things quite similarly, so it’s helped us accelerate decision-making. We’re not having to reorient one another, not having to reeducate one another.”

Cook also said she’s encouraged by the partner feedback and receptivity the team has received. “When I look at how we’re trying to embrace the partners, it’s just the collaborative effort with our partners…to create something compelling that’s going to allow us to maintain the velocity and momentum in the business we have.”