EMC Posts Record 2012 Thanks To Midmarket, Channel Strength

EMC fired on all cylinders during its fourth quarter and full year 2011 to help the company report its best financial year ever.

Key to that success was EMC's indirect sales channels which saw growth in terms of number of partners and their sales and more than made up for the loss of Dell as a reseller partner.

EMC on Tuesday reported record quarterly and yearly revenue, income, and earnings-per-share for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, which ended December 31.

For it fourth quarter, EMC's revenue reached $5.6 billion, up 14 percent over the $4.9 billion it reported in the fourth quarter of 2011. Income for EMC rose to $832 million, up 32 percent over last year's $629 million, with earnings per share rising 31 percent to reach 38 cents.

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For the full-year 2011, EMC revenue was $20.0 billion, up 18 percent over the $17.0 billion it reported last year. Income for the year rose 30 percent to reach $2.5 billion, while earnings per share for the year increased 25 percent to reach $1.10.

For the fourth quarter, EMC's Information Storage business revenue rose 12 percent over last year. This included an 11-percent increase in EMC's high-end Symmetrix storage product revenue and a 24-percent increase in midtier storage products revenue, including revenue from its VNX, Clariion, Celerra, Centera, Data Domain, Isilon, Avamar, and Atmos hardware and software products

EMC also reported fourth quarter revenue from its VMware business grew 27 percent over last year, while its RSA Information Security business grew 16 percent during that time.

During the fourth quarter, EMC's U.S. revenue rose 16 percent over last year to reach $3.0 billion, or 54 percent of the company's total sales.

"I am please with our overall performance in Q4," said Joe Tucci, EMC chairman and CEO. "Our results were strong and our balance of execution capped a very successful 2011."

For EMC, the midmarket market and the channel were both a big part of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 success.

David Goulden, EMC executive vice president and CFO, said a major part of EMC's success stems from the company's transformation of its go-to-market model to embrace indirect channels to facilitate the adoption of its technologies by customers.

"By leveraging our own services organization, expanding our relationship with our existing channel partners, seeking out and incentivizing new channel partners, and capitalizing on VCE, we continue to drive customers towards the next-generation IT infrastructures that will support cloud and big data in the future," Goulden said.

EMC in 2011 signed up 1,700 new channel partners who sold EMC products for the first time, with revenue from those new partners accounting for almost half its channel revenue growth that year, he said.

EMC also signed up about 2,000 new midmarket storage customers in the fourth quarter, he said.

At the same time, VCE, the joint-venture company set up by EMC, Cisco, and VMware to sell pre-configured Vblock cloud storage infrastructures, has shown strong growth through channel partners of the three vendors, Goulden said.

"Given that converged infrastructure is a relatively new concept, and Vblocks are very new products, we are extremely pleased with the adoption rate thus far," he said. "The order rate for Vblocks in Q4 exceeded $800 million on an annualized basis, as we rapidly close in on the billion-dollar run-rate goal we highlighted last year."

Next: Success From The Channel, And A Look Forward

Tucci said EMC's channel success came in part because of its breakup with its former primary channel partner, Dell.

"Having Dell as a key partner made it very difficult to attract a variety and the kind of channel partners we needed to grow," Tucci said. "So what we really focused on is saying (to solution providers), OK, the Dell divorce is finalized, so to speak, and we need you, we want you, and we've done all the things that you would think we've done."

That included ensuring that both EMC's and its partners' margin needs were met, that sales compensation plans incented EMC's direct sales teams to work with partners, and that new product offerings including the VNX and VNXe midrange storage products were channel-ready from day one, Tucci said.

"Are we done? Never," he said. "There's a lot of things we could do better. And we're dedicated on this path. I love the fact that we have a big and very successful and somewhat revered direct sales force. And getting that direct sales force and channel, not or, and sales channel to work together is a powerful, powerful go-to-market message. And that's what we're going to do."

Looking forward, Tucci gave a peek at several product introductions EMC plans to unveil in 2012, including the introduction of Project Lightning, its first Flash memory-based device for bringing storage performance into the server. EMC will also increase the capabilities of its VNX midrange and VMAX enterprise storage lines; refresh its Data Domain, Avamar, and Isilon lines; and add new capabilities to its RSA security products and VMware virtualization technology, he said.

On the financial side, EMC in 2012 expects revenue to hit the $22.0 billion mark, up about 10 percent from 2011. The company also expects operating income to be 17 percent of revenue, or about $3.7 billion, with earnings per share reaching $1.24.