Bare gums couldn't chew up storage rivals, says Hitachi biz

'A correlation' now seen between rhetoric and action

Hitachi Data Systems has admitted its channel organisation lacked the "teeth" to take on the lions of the storage plains but plans are afoot to give it more bite.

Regional veep and GM Stephen Ball joined in June and has since lured Dell UK channel boss Paul Harrison to run a biz development team with Computacenter (CC) director Neil Burton to head up the channel division from early 2012.

"[Partners are] starting to see a channel friendly management team at HDS that wasn't there a year ago," Ball – who also worked CC – told El Reg.

Harvey Smith will continue to manage the reseller unit but Jonathan Naik will take charge of the systems integrator team from sales director Darren Barker, who is set to run the direct sales team only.

"At the moment 60 per cent of our business goes through the channel but my intention is to get us to 80 per cent plus in the next two to three years," Ball told El Reg.

He said the first job facing Burton is to "put together a business plan" that helps HDS get to its revenue goal, but it is also lining up a zero per cent finance scheme, a proof of concept loan pool and a competitive displacement programme.

The ambition to push more business through resellers is not a new aim: HDS set similar goals in the past but internally the channel team lacked the support of the wider organisation, which had a direct selling background.

"Our channel business didn't have the teeth that they needed and were not viewed in the same way as the direct sales force," said Ball.

"We didn't have the strength in our organisation to drive things ... but they've got it from me and senior leadership in EMEA," he added.

HDS currently runs incentives for members of its direct sales team to push business through resellers, paying additional commission for doing so, but Ball said it would review the situation to see if it could do more to minimise channel conflict.

"I don't need channel conflict," he said.

Scott Haddow, chief exec at Trustmarque Solutions, pointed out the management at HDS had a background in channel and understood the pressure facing resellers, so "there is a correlation between the rhetoric and what the management are doing". ®

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