Azlan enters EMC channel in stealth mode

We will NOT upset other distributors, they won't even know we're here

Azlan wants to slip quietly into EMC's partner base without making any waves for existing distributors, well almost.

This may be music to the ears of EMC's distie pals at Arrow and Avnet who were privately concerned a price led strategy from Azlan would trash their margins, something they've complained about in past situations.

But those eager beavers within EMC's reseller network might not be as happy that a price war between the major distributors is being ruled out, for the time being anyway.

Nigel Dunn, director at Azlan, is finally welcoming on board EMC, as its second storage vendor - HP must have been getting lonely - and has specific plans for its new signing that don't involve upsetting rivals. Well sort of.

"It is not our aim to disturb the status quo in EMC's market, there is a growth opportunity among SMEs. We've profiled [our database and found] 120 customers that buy infrastructure but don't deal with EMC," he said.

So Dunn said it has unearthed net new customers for EMC, but reckoned it has also identified a number of the 300 strong EMC Velocity accredited dealers served by Arrow or Avnet that are also ripe for the plucking.

"We'll also look at disaffected Velocity partners that aren't selling much and if the other distributors aren't doing a job for them, we can," he told The Channel.

Either way, Dunn insisted Azlan is steering clear of a price led strategy to convince EMC resellers/ integrators/ cloudy folk to switch to another distributor because that "could get messy".

EMC's plans to release a raft of sub-$25,000 storage kit this year and wants Azlan, part of volume distributor Tech Data, to tap into a base of small business resellers who in turn sell to small business clients.

"We have got to have incremental opportunities that don't hurt existing distributors," Terry Beale, EMC's UK channel boss told us.

He said Arrow and Avnet will have access to the new line of low-end storage tech too but their major focus is on large enterprise/ mid-market projects and plastering their services over EMC's kit.

EMC has gone through a channel love-in over the past year, including limiting the scope of its direct sales team and overhauling reseller compensation.

The storage vendor has passed all but 150 customer accounts across to channel partners and Beale said it would cut that to 100 by January 2014.

Sources highlighted the 80/20 rule of thumb - that 80 per cent of a distributor's business is typically transacted with 20 per cent of its reseller client base.

"To have a sustainable business model Azlan will need to work with the bigger guys as well as the smaller ones. I expect to see them coming after Arrow and Avnet's business," said a source.

Arrow and Avnet were not available to comment at the time of going to press. ®

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