Quantum Consolidates Channel Organizations

The move comes after the company in November combined its tape automation and tape drive businesses into a single organization and stabilized its head count at 1,900 people from a peak of 5,000 a couple of years ago. It means solution providers will be served by a single channel sales team.

In the past, the two divisions, as well as the hard drive business sold over a year ago to Maxtor, operated independently of each other, said Mike Hardy, director of West Americas sales channel for Quantum. "It was just a mess," he said.

Solution providers now have a single source for Quantum products, from it DLT and SDLT drives to its disk-to-disk backup appliances to its enterprise tape libraries, Hardy said.

"Customers said that for a long time, it has been a pain from the channel view, especially as we brought in new products," he said.

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Greg Robertson, president of H.A. Storage Systems, a Minneapolis-based solution provider, said he has seen an immediate change in the way he works with Quantum since the channel organizations merged.

"We were doing well on both sides of the channel, but after they were combined, their marketing people see us more than before and are giving us more focus," he said.

Robertson said that Quantum has been a good partner in terms of channel and technical support. "They don't take sales direct behind our back as far as I can tell," he said.

About 60 percent of Quantum's automation business and 90 percent of its tape-drive business goes through OEM channels, with all but a handful of the remainder going through solution providers, Hardy said.

Quantum currently distributes its entire product line through Bell Microproducts, Ingram Micro and Arrow in the U.S. and through Tech Data in Canada, said Paul Zeiter, director of Americas channels for the vendor.

The company also ships drives and media through Synnex, and tape libraries through Tech Data in the U.S., he said. Quantum is currently reviewing whether to expand or contract its distributor base, he said.

The company is currently recruiting solution providers, especially those that can fill holes in its geographical or vertical customer base, Zeiter said. At the same time, the company may cut some of its partners, but no decision has been made, he said.

"Our intention is to expand the market, not over-saturate it," he said.