SMB Market Here We Come, Say EMC Channel Execs

The company has pulled together a cross-functional team of executives led by Larry Zulch, former CEO of Dantz, a maker of backup software for the SMB market that EMC acquired last year.

“This team is looking at what are all the requirements and products that we will need for that space,” said John Koury, vice president of worldwide channel marketing at EMC, Hopkinton, Mass.

Included in that portfolio of products will be iSCSI-based NAS products and SANs built specifically for the SMB space, Koury said. In addition, these products will be easier to set up and install than EMC&s current lineup of enterprise products, he said.

The exact timing of the product launches is still unknown, but Koury said EMC is already working on what types of channel programs it will have to create to support these products. The channel program update is scheduled for January.

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In general, Koury said that EMC has made a lot of progress in the past two years in terms of reducing channel conflict.

For instance, deals registered by solution providers are no longer vetted by the enterprise sales team but rather by an independent partner support center that compares the deals registered by partners and those in the enterprise sales pipeline.

“Do we have all the behavior right yet? No. But there&s a lot less conflict today,” Koury said. “And time and history are on the side of the channel, and there are a lot of smart people at EMC that know that,” he said.

Partners, too, say that teaming with EMC is better.

At an EMC World Premiere event during CMP Media&s XChange conference, which was held last week in Orlando, Fla., partners praised the vendor&s channel effort, applauding the huge strides EMC has made.

At that event, EMC Vice President of Americas Channel Gregg Ambulos said 51 percent of the company&s business now goes through partners, up sharply from the predominantly direct-sales effort EMC went to market with four years ago.

Ed Taylor, president and CEO of Collective, an Austin, Texas-based EMC services provider that recently joined the vendor&s Velocity program, said EMC is doing a great job partnering with smaller companies such as Collective.

“The EMC sales force has reached out to us, has encompassed us,” he said. “The training opportunities and the partnering opportunities are great. You don&t have to be a $200 million company to make a partnership work with them. They do a really good job of reaching down and helping you to bootstrap into this world.”

Ed Mackin, president of Mackin Imaging Systems, a Bristol, Pa.-based EMC partner, said he expects sales growth of 35 percent by partnering with EMC. Mackin Imaging supports 3,000 content management solutions for 1,000 clients, Mackin said.

STEVEN BURKE contributed to this story.