EMC, synonymous with large storage systems that sold directly to enterprise customers only a few years ago, is the new reigning solution provider favorite in the SMB Network Storage category, with a clean sweep of every subcategory of the survey, soundly beating this year's second-place and last year's winner HP by a wide margin.
EMC's shift from king of enterprise direct storage to king of SMB channel storage was swift, given that EMC wasn't even in the running in 2010. But the storage vendor's win was no surprise to Jeff Flanery, vice president of commercial sales at Alexander Open Systems, an Overland Park, Kan.-based EMC solution provider.
EMC has adopted its organization and products for its SMB push, Flanery said. "Last year, EMC mainly had inside sales reps working with us. This year, we now have a local SMB sales rep as well."
Vendors are always asking solution providers what they can do better for the channel, Flanery said. "I tell them we need face- time to help us with sales, registration, a lot of hand-holding," he said. "So now I have a named SMB sales rep from EMC. We also have our previous resources. EMC is just adding to them."
Leonard Iventosch, vice president of Americas channel at EMC, said EMC got the win because it has done a lot of things right. "Our win is impressive when you think that a few years ago we didn't have an SMB strategy," Iventosch said. As it laid out its partner strategy, EMC realized that the SMB space is partner-led, not partner-assisted, he added.
"In the SMB space, EMC realized if it wants to go to the market, we don't just need to build a channel, but we need to train the partners," he said.
"In this space, my concept is provide a virtual district manager. EMC SMB sales teams and reps are like district managers, and our resellers are our salespeople. The EMC reps trust the resellers as part of their team."