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Hitachi Vantara's Kim King: New Partner Portal Will Unify Resources

'We're really getting aggressive about how we communicate with them,' Hitachi Vantara channel executive Kimberly King says of the company's new online partner portal in an interview with CRN that also covers IoT adoption in the channel and other program changes

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What are you seeing more momentum with in the partner base: Lumada or the video solutions?

I would say video is probably more broad, so it is adopted by more partners, because it does naturally go with the rest of our core solutions. And I think Lumada, like I said, because it is a very data-rich, data [operations] solution, partners are starting — I think we will see a lot more adoption coming out of this.

I think the excitement, it will continually build. We had a line of partners after the meeting yesterday that said, "now you have everything, when can I get Jupiter [Hitachi Vantara's VSP 5000 storage platform]?" And the second thing was, "when are you going to have me training for the next-gen Lumada stuff?" And I said, we'll have that within the next 30 days. We rolled out today the Jupiter training for all partners. So we turned the switch on today, which is not normal for us because normally it takes a lot longer to do. We had been planning for that. The Lumada piece, we're recording it now, and within the next 30 days it'll be ready to go. We're being very focused on targeting partners that are ready to take advantage. We don't want to send it out to everyone and then they get confused. So we've been very focused on rolling things out and making sure that people can adopt it.

One partner told me that Hitachi Vantara has helped partners get into IoT solutions in some cases by providing its own people to lead certain opportunities in the beginning and then prepare partners to take over. Is that what is happening?

Yes, definitely. We've done a lot of mentoring programs and a lot of early adopter programs with these solutions. We want to make sure that they're successful and that they can take them over and be successful ongoing. So if you look at Lumada, if you look at — not so much Pentaho, that was much easier for them to adopt — but even the video solutions, we did a lot of the same things and now with [REAN Cloud] as well, we've been doing the same. We pick a specific number of partners. We did the training with them first. We have a mentor program with that. And then there's a whole group of partners below that [who] are ready for mentorship. So we've been very selective in the beginning, because we wanted to make sure we understood where were the potential pitfalls or roadblocks so that we could be successful [on a larger scale] rolling this out? We've done this slow wave. But the services team has been amazing and putting people in behind this and supporting our partner community.

How does an opportunity like that begin?

Typically, a partner identifies an opportunity, or we identify a partner [who] fits a profile that we want to target with them, and we'll have a conversation. If they want to commit the resources, we'll commit the resources. If they have an opportunity, then it goes a lot faster. And so we'll work through that, and it works. It's very nice. It's an easy engagement and easy support model.

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