EMC is changing the way it approaches the small- and midsize-business market by introducing preconfigured storage bundles and automating the way solution providers can order, install, configure and finance them.
The Hopkinton, Mass.-based vendor on Wednesday unveiled its Making Storage Simple program, which is designed to help solution providers work with their SMB customers, said Mike Wytenus, senior director for midsize enterprise marketing at EMC. The program includes three initiatives: Express Solutions, an online auto-configuration tool and online financing.
Express Solutions is a portfolio of storage bundles geared for specific solutions. The bundles include Clariion SAN arrays, Centera content-addressable storage arrays, Celera and NetWin NAS appliances, and EMC switches and software. They initially will be earmarked for e-mail archiving, but future bundles also will be offered for networked storage, backup and recovery, and business protection, Wytenus said.
List prices for the Express Solutions start at $5,995. Solution providers that sell the bundles will be eligible for co-op dollars and other reward points under EMC's Velocity channel program, which the company unveiled at its partner conference in January, Wytenus said.
To make it easier for solution providers to install the Express Solutions, EMC is implementing an online auto-configuration tool, which the company had been testing for nearly a year.
"Today, channel partners ask customers questions, pull out a 1,500-piece price book, decide what software they need, what array they need, what capacity, cables, HBAs and so on," he said. "They then put it together manually. They take it to the customer, run it by them and tweak the offer."
With EMC's configuration wizard, solution providers answer a few short questions, and the tool's knowledge-based intelligence finds the right products, components and capacities, Wytenus said. "It pulls out the right products, the right white papers, configuration information and blueprints," he said. "It guarantees 100 percent compatibility. The partner gets a rock-solid solution and gets the services they need."
Under the third initiative, Velocity Financing, EMC is enabling solution providers to apply for credit and leasing terms over the Internet for EMC and non-EMC equipment, according to Wytenus. Credit and leasing approval used to be a manual process, and now SMBs should be able to get fast approval for deals in the $100,000 to $150,000 range, he said.
"We will match any level of customer need," Wytenus added.
The Making Storage Simple initiatives are open to all of EMC's channel partners but won't be available to the company's direct-sales staff, Wytenus said. The initiatives will be open to Dell, EMC's largest channel partner, but Dell likely will take only part of what's available, Wytenus said.
For instance, he said, Dell will use Clariion-based Express Solutions but not those based on the Centera because Dell doesn't resell Centera solutions. Dell also doesn't resell such Legato software products for e-mail archiving or replication. "They will selectively take our technology and make it their own," he said.