Empowering partners to address the mid-market analytics opportunity
EMC has taken care to streamline its programs so distributors and channel partners can enjoy a simple, predictable and profitable experience. The Isilon portfolio presents a new opportunity, and potentially a disruptive one. We ask Uma Thana Balasingam (UT), EMC’s Director of Isilon Channels for Asia Pacific and Japan, about investments to support partners to capture additional customer budgets.
CCF: We have looked at the opportunity provided by the technology. For many partners, it is the services that can be more profitable. Does an elegant platform like Isilon allow for many services opportunities?
UT: Absolutely. We have seen long-standing Isilon partners build robust services practices. There are as many pre-sales opportunities as there are post-sales ones. We are seeing partners building specific specializations, and this is especially true in the Isilon business.
CCF: And of course, for EMC, services are an important revenue and profit stream. How do you share this with your partners?
UT: We have three models for services sales and delivery that satisfy the vast majority of cases depending on the partners’ customers and their business models. Many partners have invested in training and enablement to sell and deliver services themselves and this is by far the most profitable model for partners. We encourage as many of our partners as possible to consider this model. At the other end of the spectrum, partners can resell EMC-branded services and make a margin, leaving the delivery to EMC’s global capacity. The third option is what we call a cooperative services model, where partners can sell their branded services and delegate part of the delivery to EMC. This final option usually appeals to partners who have strong branding and the confidence to manage complex engagements.
CCF: That’s a comprehensive range. How does EMC manage the potential complexity?
UT: Well, it takes a dedicated team within our services organization to enable partners to take advantage of EMC’s full portfolio. As you can imagine, it all started with customer demand trends. When we mapped that to how we wanted our own resources to grow, and how we wanted to motivate partners, the mix of models emerged. But key to all this is the full partner services program and training we provide, not just for technical professionals, but also for sales, contract and administration teams. For example, in addition to the standard sales value proposition development, we encourage engagement managers to walk in the shoes of a data scientist, become consultative and consider the questions to ask from a big data implementation. This additional knowledge and confidence has helped create common ground between partners and EMC teams and paved the way for pragmatic solutions to services needs.
CCF: What are some of the more specific post-implementation opportunities for partners?
UT: Beyond maintenance and support, we have seen customers ask for archive management and additional application integration that supports their business processes as they broaden the reach of their analytics engines to gain deeper insight and achieve competitive advantage. For many customers, EMC’s big data solutions provide valuable data that triggers workflows and business processes that form part of data- and content-rich collaborative interactions, so delivering analytics insights via applications comes into play. And for partners with the right consulting and scripting skills, automating the backend appears to be an ongoing revenue stream.