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So just what kind of impact do solution providers see from the EMC product reset?
Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions for Marlborough, Mass.-based International Computerware Inc. (ICI), EMC’s Global Services Partner of the Year, expects VNXe and the new VNX product family to drive explosive sales growth for ICI. He says VNXe alone will drive $5 million in sales for his company in 2011.
Shepard, who advised EMC on the new product, says VNXe is destined to forever change the character of EMC and its partners. He says the new VNXe product takes EMC storage provisioning into the Buzz Lightyear “infinity and beyond” era. “They have brought storage provisioning and management into the 21st century and beyond,” said Shepard. “Before VNXe they had superior products but they were difficult to provision and manage.”
In fact, Shepard, whose company has thrived by bringing high-performance storage solutions and services to some of the biggest companies in the world, is establishing a new beachhead in the SMB market as a result of VNXe. He estimates his salespeople have walked away from as many as 100 deals over the past year because EMC didn’t have the right SMB product at the right price. ICI was playing right in the middle of the storage pyramid market and will now go downstream to take a big bite out of the SMB, Shepard said. “This allows us to play through the entire sales pyramid,” he said. “Now we can walk into any account with an EMC solution.”
Shepard isn’t the only partner excited about the EMC product. Dan Serpico, president of FusionStorm, who was honored with EMC’s Velocity Partner Executive of the Year award, sees a “significant opportunity” for his $450 million national powerhouse with VNXe and the new VNX family. This comes on top of a FusionStorm EMC business that was up 50 percent in 2010.
Serpico said what excites him most about the product launch is the ability to make high margins in the SMB market. “EMC does a very good job of driving margins and supporting high-margin business for the channel, especially in the SMB space where VARs like us are competing with the CDWs and Dells of the world,” he said. “The opportunity for margin in those markets has historically been very difficult. If EMC remains true to their history, the opportunity for us to make more money and to enjoy higher margins in this space is really significant.”
That commitment to a profitable partner model starts with Tucci, who said partners are going to be pleasantly surprised by the amount of money they can make with VNXe. “You have got to make sure they can make a buck,” said Tucci, speaking about EMC’s commitment to partners. “That they can make their profit goals, their margin goals.” And Tucci wants partners to know that he sees the product set strengthening the company’s commitment to them. He personally will be “listening” to partners to make sure that the company maintains its partner edge. And he is determined to not let EMC’s direct-sales force get in the way. “We are going to ship virtually all of these products through our channel,” he said. “This is a channel product. And our sales force will be comp-incented to make sure it goes through the channel.”
There is still the matter of convincing those skeptics, though. “The secret in life for success is how many of those people from Missouri can you show?” said Tucci. “So that’s OK with me.”
EMC’s SMB assault is just one more chance to prove the skeptics wrong. And that’s just what Tucci loves to do.
Joseph F. Kovar contributed to this story.