CRN Interview: Joe Tucci And David DeWalt, EMC

EMC CEO Joe Tucci and EMC Software Group Executive Vice President David DEWalt spoke about the company's new unified Velocity channel program AND other issues in an interview with Editor/News Steven Burke at the storage giant's first-ever software conference. Below are excerpts from the interview.

CRN: What is the channel vision as you go into 2005 for bringing together the software and hardware channel?

Tucci: The theme of this conference is 'One.' That basically is one EMC because EMC is truly not a hardware company. It is truly not a software company. It is truly not a service company. We are focusing on storage information management. We call our strategy ILM [information life-cycle management]. Basically, we are going to have best-of-breed products—hardware and software products. The strength comes when you package those products together and you form solution sets with services around those packages.

Of course, to do that, the EMC of old, the EMC of the '90s, they used to do all of that themselves. They really didn't use channel partners. Not in a good sense of the way you use channel partners. Our strategy now is exactly the opposite, which is we are going to keep a strong direct-sales force. I won't apologize to anybody about that. As long as I live and breathe and am heading this company we will have a strong direct-sales force both on the software and hardware side in regard to ILM. Our strategy is to really grow with partners. Every time I look at the results—and I won't give you the percentages because we don't make them public—but the percentages keep ramping up in terms of partner involvement. It is just phenomenal how many times they show up. So it is one of the real pillars of our company.

CRN: How many partners are selling software, hardware and services today and how many do you think will be selling hardware, software and services as a result of this 'EMC One' effort?

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DeWalt: We have a large percentage of the existing EMC partners today that are part of the Velocity program [selling] software, services and hardware. The market is moving toward vertical stacks and vendors who can provide complete infrastructure. It is hardware, software and services. A lot of our partners have asked us to be able to resell or get certified on other areas of our software and hardware platforms. So this overarching program is to allow them, if they were selling hardware and software from EMC, to start selling Legato, start selling Documentum or Documentum and Legato. It is really not about having Documentum and Legato anymore. It is all one group from EMC. We want the partners to feel that and allow them access to all of the EMC products. We have set up some very detailed certifications and levels.

Tucci: It is a different structure for different folks. We don't tell the partners what to do. You have to know your own business—where your value is and what your model is. So there is going to be a set of partners that really want only to do the software. And then they could team with another partner that could provide some of the hardware assets. We do see a lot of cross-fertilization—Legato and Documentum partners, some of them are now picking up some of the hardware because it is easy to sell that solution set especially as we brand it. And, obviously, there are a number of hardware partners now all over software.

CRN: Do you think we are going to see a lot more of the hardware guys jumping into the software space?

Tucci: I think you'll see the hardware guys jump into the software space more. The software guys, some will and some won't [move into hardware]. I think all of the software guys will do more services.

DeWalt: If you look at different market segments, you'll see a proclivity to do more hardware and software bundling the more you get into SMB and commercial.

CRN: As you look forward in 2005, what is the acquisition plan?

Tucci: We already did one. We expect Smarts will join the EMC family in February. Obviously, it is going through the regulatory approvals. I can't see any reason why we won't clear that. So the answer is, obviously, yes. We just did one. Do I think this will be our last of the year? No I don't. Am I going to give any indications of how big, what, when, where, why? My normal stance is no.