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Infrastructure CEO Goulden: The Federation Is Driving Stronger EMC Channel Commitment

The company's Federation strategy, tightly tying together the disparate offerings from EMC, VCE, VMware, RSA and Pivotal, is making EMC's channel stronger.

EMC Information Infrastructure CEO David Goulden said the company's Federation strategy, tightly tying together the disparate offerings from EMC, VCE, VMware, RSA and Pivotal, is making EMC's channel stronger.

"Our commitment to the channel is stronger, and we're making it easier to work with all parts of the Federation," Goulden said during a Q&A at EMC World in Las Vegas.

Goulden said the transition from traditional storage toward a hybrid cloud and hyper-converged future is driving more customers to look to EMC solution providers to drive their digital transformation.

[Related: EMC's VCE Unit Puts Pressure On Cisco With Rollout Of VxRack Hyper-Converged Appliance Line ]

"Customers are looking to channel partners to lead their transformations," said Goulden. "Partners can play a huge role in getting those outcomes delivered to customers."

Solution providers said the Federation initiative is making it easier for them to build a hybrid cloud transformation plan for customers combining the breadth and depth of EMC's offerings, including storage, hyper-converged infrastructure, virtualization, security and big data.

How readily partners can capitalize on that will depend on how well EMC sticks to the Federation strategy.

Arnold Bennett, U.S. regional sales director at Northern Parklife, said there are significant revenue opportunities for partners if EMC's sales operation can commit to tighter channel relationships rather than allowing its direct salespeople to compete with channel partners.

"It's about the willingness at EMC to do the Federation strategy on the account level," Bennett said. "EMC's message is finally starting to get out of hardware. The message is not about hawking more hardware."

Kent Christensen, practice director at Datalink, No. 49 on CRN's SP500 ranking, said the revenue opportunity for partners as EMC tightens the integration of Federation companies is "huge."

"There's just much more opportunity, and we're trying to stay out in front of that," Christensen said.

For Datalink, the big revenue opportunity is in customers' need for guidance. Often, customers know they need to make changes toward the digital future, but don't know what products and services they need, and don't know how to go about getting them, Christensen said.

"We're saying, 'We'll help you figure it out.' We help them decide because they don't know. They ask, 'What's the best thing for me?' and 'We're getting into managed services, too?'"

Mark Bennett, a systems engineer at Madison, Wis.-based EMC partner OneNeck, a CRN Tech Elite 250 winner, said he's seen tighter integration of partner services and technical expertise from EMC's sales and marketing operation since the Federation was launched one year ago. "It's been great. They're being very progressive and future-seeking in their development," he said.

Maryam Emdadi, federal sales director at $1.5 billion federal systems integrator Carahsoft, Reston, Va., applauded EMC's Federation strategy and partner commitment. "Last year, nobody knew what the Federation was, so we appreciate the clarity and tying it all together," she said.

Ultimately, the Federation will mean one-stop shopping for partners looking to bring a complete solution to customers, said Willie Foerstner, senior managing director, Healthcare & Finance, for $1 billion systems integration giant ePlus Technology. "It's new products, new innovation, time and speed," he said.

Goulden said the industry has come to a point where it realizes future growth will come from converged, hyper-converged and software-defined offerings rather than traditional storage.

Not all companies will make that change fully, but even those that stick with traditional storage will probably use at least some software-based systems as their data requirements increase, Goulden said.


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