Over the past two years, EMC Southern Africa has increased its channel revenue by more than 70%, with over 77% of its business now being streamed through channel partners. This is a significant turnaround for the leading cloud computing, Big Data and trusted IT solutions provider, which just seven years ago earned most of its revenue through direct sales.
Servaas Venter, Country Manager of EMC Southern Africa, says that EMC has put immense effort into strengthening its commitment to the channel, both globally and in southern Africa.
Tangible examples of this commitment include becoming the first IT vendor to take a stance on the way it engages with its channel partners, categorising the mid-market and SMB segments as being channel-only, and avoiding taking any direct business in partner-found or under-penetrated account opportunities.
“EMC has introduced major changes in its go to market strategy, particularly in terms of the way it operates in the channel. The overarching objective was to ensure that EMC’s business partners benefited from a simple, predictable and profitable experience,” Venter says.
“And the results are starting to show – from contributing 50% of our revenue, channel now accounts for the largest slice of EMC Southern Africa’s revenue at 77% – and of that, 42% is done via distributors.”
Along its journey to becoming a channel-focused organisation, EMC has completed multiple acquisitions and broadened its product portfolio from storage to encompass the vast data management landscape. Consequently, its price list has mushroomed from one page to list tens of thousands of products. EMC has evolved into a complex enterprise with the capability to penetrate deeper into markets from corporates to mid-market companies and small to medium businesses.
“Historically, EMC has been under-represented in the mid-market and among SMBs,” Venter says. “Our partners play a key role in addressing that, and by adopting a more effective strategy and selecting fewer, more strategic partners we are able to ensure that our partners are more profitable and more involved in our business.”
By entrenching official Channel Rules of Engagement throughout its organisation, EMC became the first IT vendor, locally and globally, to take a stance on the way it engages with its business partners. The rationale behind this move was to reassure EMC’s partners that their interests are protected when they engage with EMC.
A set of 11 guiding principles make working with EMC very clear. In addition to mid-market and SMB segments being channel-only, EMC avoids taking any direct business in partner-found or under-penetrated account opportunities.
In addition, EMC Southern Africa launched its Pre-Sales Elite Programme for the crème de la crème of South Africa’s pre-sales technicians. Members of the programme benefit from access to confidential roadmaps, invite-only product launches and partner events, free certifications, competitive reviews and quarterly social events.
“There is no doubt that channel is an integral part of EMC for the long term. We simply can’t grow EMC without our partners, and with a clear partner strategy, we are certain to build a sustainable future,” Venter says.