"Partners will gain tremendously out of the DELL-EMC deal"
In a candid interaction with the DQ Channels, Praveen Sahai, VP, Channels, EMC India and SAARC said that the much talked about DELL-EMC deal would positively impact the channel and partners would get tremendous benefits out of the deal
Tagged as the first storage company in the world, today EMC has diversified into different technology domain. How is the growth of EMC in India in terms of reach and channel spread in 2015?
Praveen Sahai: We had a very positive run in the Indian market and we have a very strong growth in terms of channel. Our CAGR growth is in the range of about 12 to 15 percent. As per the IDC data for Q2, 2015, EMC had around 33 percent market share on the external storage side of business. The channel business has been very positive in the last three to four years. For specifically this year, our channel revenue growth is an excess of about 35 percent.
From external storage to cloud, EMC have a complete portfolio of Enterprise solutions? What are the key factors that differentiate EMC from the competitors?
Praveen Sahai: Five years back we were known as the storage company. We migrated ourselves to big data, security, virtualization, software defined and now in the cloud space. The journey has been very positive. We have been a very strong R & D and acquisition based company. Almost 20 percent of EMC revenue is invested back into the R & D and acquisitions. Our organic and inorganic growth in technology has been through these two areas. So interestingly partners find us very technology savvy and ahead of time. We not only provide our standard storage solution, but also offer our big data solution, analytics based solutions, security based solutions and we are leveraging on our enterprise cloud solutions. So if any SI wants to differentiate himself in solution offerings, he becomes a part of EMC’s channel ecosystem. We have a plethora of offerings which are third platform ready and future ready. We are servicing a product need and building the architecture for future products and that is where our alignment with the enterprise SIs space becomes very strong.
What kind of transformations you have brought in EMC’s channel strategies? How these changes have impacted EMC’s channel business in India?
Praveen Sahai: When I took over the role as a channel head in July 2012, I wanted to consolidate the channel partners to ensure that there are categories of partner relationships and people who align with us are profitable. So we went through that journey and from five distributors, we consolidated into two. Similarly, from 65 focused partners, we have consolidated into 22.
Three years back we also initiated journey around three Ps and they are profitability, pipeline and performance. Profitability is very critical and we wanted to be the most profitable vendor for all our SIs and distributors and we have reached at a commendable stage in terms of profitability.
Second is the pipeline. I realized that partners were not having enough pipelines for a positive visibility on the next quarter and the quarter after that. They were leaving for the day. So we started working very closely with the partners and created an ecosystem of building pipelines for 6 months in advance and that worked very positively. So all our focused partners see a very positive pipeline development exercise and there are pipelines for every partner which they foresee 6 months in advance.
On the performance side, we started giving specific targets to partners and we started building performance based objectives with each of these partners. So these three things worked pretty well. We have a set of 22 enterprise SI partners who are called as focused partners. Then we have a set of tier one partners, which are five in number which are TCS, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, HCL Infosystems and Wipro. And at last we have a set of growth partners in 100-110 in number. That is the base we are working on and we are building our ecosystem around it.
There are multiple partners who buy from us from an opportunity size as well. That was the landscape over the last two to three years on a technology front on our channel ecosystem. We have also created a very strong and high performing team, which has a sales mindset and which is able to work with the ecosystem of partners to create a right enablement of procedures. When we talk about giving the right hyper converged infrastructure, our team is able to create an enablement program for both platform 2 and platform 3. While expanding the product portfolio, what kind of expertise you have brought in your channel ecosystem to enable partners to deliver right technology solutions to the end users?
Praveen Sahai: We have launched a new program called Business Partner Program in January 2015. Our global team captured the platform 3 needs which are the next generation technology needs andbuilt it along the federation requirement of the company. EMC federation comprises of EMC, RSA, VMware, Pivotal and VCE. We have kind of structured a program where our partners will get not only the immense value from the whole federation play, but also the enablement in technical expertise around the key verticals.
The data explosion has also let us into a conceptual framework change from selling VNX or VMax hardware only solutions and we have migrated to technologies like vVNX which is a software defined solution around the storage infrastructure. There are solutions like ViPR in our ecosystem where partner can leverage from doing a software defined storage solution but by utilizing commodity hardware.
What would be the impact of the much talked about DELL-EMC acquisition on EMC’s channel strategy in India?
Praveen Sahai: The areas Dell works are very different from the area we work. Therefore, the overlap is minimal. Dell has been very strong in the SME and consumer space. We have a leading position in the area of the top end of the mid market and the enterprise. We talk to CXO and CIO and they talk to IT managers and consumers. So when you look at the ecosystem play, I think we have huge benefits specifically for the partner ecosystem. My personal believe is that this acquisition will have a lot of positive impact on the overall system integration and partners will get tremendous out of the deal. They will get a complete ecosystem of the server and client technology and the best of the world of enterprise technology. EMC is known for its enterprise solutions across the world. We lead in terms of market share in most of the countries, including India for most of our technologies. Dell leads in the most of the space they have and if you combine its together partners are going to gain.
What will be the impact of DELL-EMC acquisition deal on EMC’s overall business? Will EMC retain its name and maintain the distinct identity of its federation companies?
Praveen Sahai: At the moment, I am not in a position to answer whether the brand will stay or it will revoke. It will be decided in discussion at a board level. There will be an impact on the business, but it is too early to comment on it. Let the acquisition process get complete and processes will be cleared after that only. EMC has a philosophy of keeping the brands separate and creating a federation of companies and there is always freedom of business. I believe that there will be something very sensible coming out for the partners. I see massive synergies for the partner ecosystem at large. It is a massive gain for the entire ecosystem. Shareholders to get 37 percent returns, partners to get to play in an area where they never been and the employees going to benefit due to a complete portfolio.
What are the growth areas you would be focusing on in future?
Praveen Sahai: We will keep on focusing on the technology roadmap. We will keep on investing in our R& D for creating the next generation platforms for our future products. Government and PSU has been a very strong vertical for EMC and we are gaining more and more relevance on most of the government projects. Apart from that BFSI and Telecom are the other major focused areas. We have entered into the new area of Cloud Service provider business and working very closely with solution providers like Tata Communication, NetMagic, CtrlS.
Government and PSU has been a very strong vertical for EMC and we are gaining more and more relevance on most of the government projects. Apart from that BFSI and Telecom are the other major focused areas
Praveen Sahai, VP, Channels, EMC India and SAARC
Praveen Sahai, VP, Channels, EMC India and SAARC