HDS: 'We're out of the traps to become a grown-up channel biz'

Staff are set partner sales targets

Hitachi Data Systems has for the first time handed its sales team in the UK and Ireland a channel component within their overall revenue target.

This is one of a number of changes made by the new guard at the storage vendor in the wake of a shakeup of local management last year, including the additions of new regional veep Stephen Ball and partner boss Neill Burton.

The remit handed to former Computacenter director Burton, now veep for alliances and system integrators at HDS, is to generate 80 per cent of business via resellers by 2015, up from the current 60-plus per cent range.

"Everyone at HDS has a responsibility for building the partner eco-system," Burton told The Reg. "Regional sales directors now have an indirect target that I can measure … the proximity to channel partners has not been there."

He added that "we want to get away from the mentality that there is an [internal] sales force and a channel management function" and that never the twain shall meet.

HDS sales staff identified accounts where strategic partners Computacenter, SCC, Kelway, BT Engage IT and Viglen operate, but "there is room for improvement in their understanding of what those partners do" said Burton.

Distributors Avnet TS and Zycko have been tasked with building the "channel champions" of tomorrow for the vendor - who will be resellers not directly managed by HDS - with a specific thrust to generate file and data business.

Burton said that HDS has also created a channel-only sales team to work with its select band of managed resellers and SIs to help identify business. This will be led by former Dell UK reseller boss Paul Harrison.

"Over the next three months I have to ascertain whether channel partners and our sales force accept the changes and are winning business together … we are out of the traps in terms of being a grown-up indirect company," Burton said.

HDS is also shifting the majority of its sales team out of the major accounts to win over new customers. "Only 25 per cent of our sales force were looking for new customers but we are in the process of reversing that model," he added. ®

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