EMC Changes The Rules Of The Game

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There are few products that can in one fell swoop drive a high-margin services business for solution providers and huge ROI for customers.

Most companies don't take the time or effort to focus on both the solution provider services quotient and the customer ROI. But that's just what EMC has done with its SourceOne compliance product offering, which was launched earlier this year and has shattered sales records for EMC and its partners.

And it's not just the big global system integrators that are tearing up the market with SourceOne. A lot of smaller VARs that may never have looked at EMC as a partner are prospering. The average SourceOne sale is $43,000 for the subscription-based offering, and it packs a whopping 46 percent margin on registered deals. And because EMC has designed it from the ground up for partners, more than 70 percent of sales are being driven by solution providers.

So what's the secret sauce? Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at International Computerware Inc. (ICI), a Marlborough, Mass., solution provider, says in 18 years in this business it is the first time he has had a vendor provide him with a sales assessment tool that has changed the IT landscape and powered a completely new solution business.

The EMC assessment tool reviews a client's e-mail environment and storage network and provides critical information on the last time data was accessed, redundant data and top storage users/abusers in the corporation. That's the kind of information that leads to huge cost savings for customers, which are able to reduce storage costs with SourceOne and satisfy federal and state compliance requirements. And it's peace of mind for top executives and their legal departments, which have to make sure they can deliver e-mail records at a moment's notice.

"This is the real deal," said Shepard. "I get so fired up because EMC has enabled us to do something no other vendor has been able to do. This is business ROI nirvana. It finally is IT providing proactive value."

Shepard said the assessment service positions ICI as a high-level strategic consultant and not a product reseller. That has led to the creation of an ICI compliance/e-discovery unit that drove huge sales growth in a tumultuous year.

What's more, ICI has an amazing 950 percent winning batting average on SourceOne proposals, nailing 21 of 22 deals. The lone deal lost was not to another company but rather because of a lack of funding, he said.

Ken Grohe, vice president of Americas Partner Sales for EMC, said the company's goal from the outset was to change the rules of the game for information governance. He called SourceOne "disruptive technology."

EMC, to its credit, has shifted its focus away from simply peddling more and bigger storage boxes. It is focusing on solutions that work for both its customers and partners. That's good news for ICI and all solution providers.

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