IN THE HOT SEAT: Educating the storage channel

IN THE HOT SEAT: Educating the storage channel

A former primary school teacher, Iomega's Scott Dillon will jokingly tell you that teaching kids is a lot like teaching the channel and SMBs: the top challenge is generating awareness. But for the vendor's country manager, his new job means educating partners about the need for backup and storage solutions, rather than their ABC.

Dillon said he wanted to aggressively push into the SMB market and change the perceptions of the company from being a consumer storage supplier to that of being a B2B provider as well.

How did you get involved with Iomega?

Scott Dillon (SD): I was working as a primary school teacher for five years before moving into sales. I progressed through sales in various companies until I was poached by Iomega.

How did you find the leap from teaching into IT?

SD: It is very different, but my communication skills sets lent nicely to sales. There are many times I have reflected back on the things I've missed in the teaching experience, but as a career path, financially and otherwise, I've never looked back.

What has your Iomega life entailed thus far?

SD: I have the responsibilities for the overall ANZ business, reporting to the Asia-Pacific headquarters. When I first joined the company I had various roles. I joined as a corporate sales manager, dealing into the corporate and government environment. Over the years, I was also responsible for the OEM business looking after our tier-one relationships, and with our channel partners and the local whitebox system integrators. I also had distribution management and retail management responsibilities. I've had experience in managing most aspects of the business.

What significant moves have taken place over the last few months?

SD: We have recently made an obvious split between our business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) categories. We have been far better known as a consumer desktop storage company with products like Zip and Jazz. We want to change the perception. We've been working extensively in R&D over the last few years bringing to market solutions in the B2B space, mainly focusing on the SMB market.

Is the SMB market a main push for the company?

SD: We have a desire to push into this space. The SMB player is familiar with Iomega as a brand as many of them have used Zip for many years. We now have a range of business products suitable to that market including a removable storage solution, Rev, and a range of NAS products.

Iomega has also appointed Express Online to help push further into the SMB space and regional Australia. This wasn't a knee-jerk reaction to the Ingram/Tech Pacific merger. We started discussions with Express Online nearly a year ago. We identified them as a distributor whose prime business is to sell into the regional and SMB reseller.

What is the company's strategy for the rest of the year and into 2006?

SD: The focus is to continue with our consumer business with the desktop storage solutions, including the external hard drives and DVD burners. With our push into the B2B space, we recently launched a value-added reseller program. We are looking to recruit relevant and appropriate resellers servicing the SMB space. We're also in search of a business development manager who will be responsible for the B2B product category.

In addition to SMB, is the company looking at other markets?

SD: We still have a significant presence in the OEM space with the local system integrators. That market is a subset of SMB. The local integrator is the person building the servers, who traditionally also built low-end tape drives into the server. Our Rev solution is an alternative to tape, and we want to push that into the OEM space.

Is the digital home market an area of interest?

SD: Iomega has identified solutions that will cater to the home market. We have a product that I'm looking to introduce into Australia in the coming months. It's a wireless NAS box, the Iomega 100D, that caters to the home. There's also a range of personal handheld storage devices that are capturing data, whether it's cameras or MP3 players, and PCs and home networks. Our vision is there will be some type of large piece of storage in the home where most of the data is kept. Iomega is working on not only the hardware, but the software solutions to help manage the varied and widespread data.

What would you be doing if you weren't in IT?

SD: Teaching is a rewarding, great profession. I would be a casual teacher. The holidays are great compared to what I take now.

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