Storage vendor EMC has launched a new worldwide channel strategy, which will see the company become increasingly dependent on distributors and resellers rather than its current focus on direct sales to customers and high end integrators.
To kick off the new sales model in Australia, EMC has signed up national distributor Express Data to strengthen its channel presence and fortify the services offered to channel partners. The new deal sees ED distributing EMC's CLARiiON SAN and NAS information storage solutions. It has been designed to strengthen the vendors market presence without over-expanding its partner base.
According to Ross Cochrane, general manager Express Data the distributor will continue to work with EMC's existing resellers as well as developing new routes to market.
"We will be targeting additional channel partners, because storage is a significant growth market at both the enterprise and SME level," Cochrane said.
In a sales model nutted out after months of deliberations between the two parties, Express Data is set to provide both consultative sales and technical support as well as product training to its storage resellers.
"The storage market is now sufficiently mature to allow significant opportunities for channel based sales," Cochrane said. "We are working with a series of vendors, including Compaq, Veritas and CA to provide resellers with a complete storage solution."
Paul Frith, managing director of EMC Australia New Zealand describes the storage vendor's embracing of the channel as a rebirthing process which has been strategically developed.
"We are looking to put increasing fractions of our business out through the channel, and using our direct sales force in order to develop demand in the market," Frith said. "Ultimately we are looking at a 50:50 revenue model, where half of our sales go out through the channel."
According to Frith the decision to work with Express Data involved a lengthy process in which a number of possible distribution partners were assessed.
"We had to be satisfied that both the skills base and the market presence were strong," Frith said. "Express Data fitted our requirements, and is well regarded within the channel. We are willing to commit to them in order to develop an ongoing singular relationship."
The new channel approach will also be supported by a series of 'centres of excellence' where SAN and NAS solutions configurations can be tested for compatibility issues, and where partner training can be provided.
"At this stage we are looking to open up the first of such centres in June or July this year," Frith said.
In order to ensure minimal conflict between direct and channel markets EMC has based its channel program solely around its CLARiiON products"We want to avoid some of the frustration and lack of channel loyalty caused when vendors appear to be competing with their channel," Frith said.
If EMC figures are anything to go on, this new strategy may prove quite lucrative for storage resellers. While many IT products are languish in a climate of shrinking expenditure, storage markets continue to go from strength to strength.
According to EMCs recently released financial figures for Q1 Information storage revenue for the first quarter grew by 37 per cent to an impressive $US2.26 billion. Much of this movement was dominated by growth in the networked information storage arena which hit 158 per cent.Photograph: EMC Aust/NZ managing director Paul Firth