EMC's Chris Riley Steps Back Into The Limelight As HP Noncompete Expires

A former Hewlett-Packard executive has taken over global alliances responsibilities at EMC with a goal of working across the EMC Federation of companies to develop new integrated solutions.

Chris Riley told CRN he quietly started his new role at EMC as senior vice president of global alliances Feb. 9 after the expiration of his noncompete agreement with rival HP, where he had served as vice president and general manager of Americas storage.

Riley left HP in February 2014 for EMC, where he spent a year as global services manager looking at next-generation solutions.

[Related: EMC Will Keep VMware, For Now At Least]

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Riley spent more than six years at HP. From 1987 to 1999, he was a regional vice president at EMC.

Riley steps into the role formerly held by Terry Breen, who retired in January.

Solution providers who know Riley said he knows storage and the channel very well.

Riley is right for his new role at EMC, said Jamie Shepard, regional and health systems senior vice president at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime EMC channel partner.

"He has strong relationships with all vendors and the entire EMC ecosystem. Sales type guy, another 'get the job done' person," Shepard told CRN via email.

Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider and longtime HP channel partner, told CRN his company worked with Riley a lot during his time at HP.

"He was definitely aligned with the channel," Case said. "We had a direct line with him."

However, Case said, Riley's role at EMC is quite different from his past roles at HP.

Riley said that, in his new role at EMC, he is focused on four primary areas.

The first is telco and service provider accounts, where his team identifies solutions and portfolios for customers in that space. Those solutions include both traditional offerings and solutions that include components from the various parts of the EMC Federation. "And we work with new technology like NFV [network functions virtualization], real-time analytics and third platform solutions," he said.

EMC defines the "third platform" of IT as solutions that combine mobile computing, big data, the cloud and new ways to use social media.

The second focus for Riley is systems integrators and strategic outsourcing partners.

The third is industry verticals, including health care, oil and gas, and the public sector. "We have relationships with key ISV partners to engineer unique solutions to service those industries," he said.

The fourth is EMC's OEM business, where EMC embeds its products or software in technology partners' go-to-market solutions. Such partners include some of the world's largest telcos, as well as Lenovo, with which EMC has a long-standing technology agreement.

These partnerships have a direct impact on solution providers, Riley said.

"A lot of go-to-market enablement is being done here to help the channel," Riley said. "Over 80 percent of our industry vertical solutions go through channels."

Everything EMC does for these different alliances takes advantage of the EMC Federation, Riley said.

"I work closely with VMware, Pivotal, RSA and VCE," he said. "We have a common set of global partners. And the value they see is the Federation. Our value proposition is unmatched in the industry."