EMC Corporation with revenues of $24.4 billion in 2014 and 62,000 people worldwide enables businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. The storage giant besides innovations in flash, software defined and other offerings last year accelerated its strategy around Cloud and Big Data for enterprise customers. 2015 was also a defining year as tech major Dell announced its intent to buy EMC in $67 Bn deal.
IDG India spoke to Rajesh Janey, President India & SAARC, EMC at length on the business outlook in 2016, the impact from DELL EMC merger, the channel partner roadmap and other growth drivers for the company.
Excerpts from the interview.
How has the face of India Inc. changed in terms of how they consume technology and how is EMC attuned to this buying pattern?
The new economy and the digital consumers are powering a new set of mobile enabled applications - whether taxi hailing services, shopping portals or grocery services - emerging every day. This trend is fueled more by the affordable devices and the demographic dividend (or Information generated). Adding to the momentum is Indian government’s initiatives around digitization, digital India and others. For last couple of years, we have seen demographic dividend, devices and government initiatives fueling new set of applications.
Connectivity will be a significant change in 2016 as 4G technology takes center stage in India. With telecom operators improving data transfer from availability and speed perspective on mobile devices, there will be proliferation of new applications (including bandwidth hungry ones) which was not possible earlier due to the restricted bandwidth issues.
This connectivity will become all pervasive reaching every rural area. With government initiatives like Jan Dhan yogna (every person in that village has bank account today) coupled with payment banks will lead to a society transacting using payment banks and mobile. And the applications emerging will be far higher and reach further to benefit the economy -- which will be largely cashless.
How do these new trends translate into business for EMC India and how are you attuned to make the most of it?
To support this kind of growth in a growing economy and the new kind of applications, the businesses too have to evolve to new IT infrastructure. These applications will need cloud architecture, a robust infrastructure and huge piece of analytics running in real times. Most will also be object storage (unstructured data) in forms of maps, images etcetera. Cloud, robust infrastructure, analytics and unstructured data will be the way ahead and this is where EMC can play a big role.
From EMC Infra story, these kind of applications and used cases will fuel a movement to cloud that plays to our sweet spot of enterprise hybrid cloud for EMC. Secondly, it requires modern datacenter infra which includes converged infra to scale to multiple silos and support these applications. Most of these App owners will adopt converged infra (‘DC in a box’) for instant ‘up and running’ the datacenter.
The underlying modern datacenter architecture will become all flash as we see slow diminishing of spinning storage. It will be scale out from earlier scale up architecture as it is now impossible to predict the business growth. Most datacenters will become software defined. And all these will be cloud enabled with the option to connect or scale out to take data in and out from Azure etcetera.
Cloud, modern datacenter infra and modern datacenter architecture will drive business for EMC.
How good was 2015 for EMC and what did you do different for the desired results? Any new technologies or new verticals from your kitty that just take off?
2015 has been the best year in the history of EMC India. It can be debated that we have better year-on-year growth but last year was truly the best In terms of percentage achievement itself across all numbers as we increased dominance across all verticals.
The good result was due to the various initiatives during the long term window over past four years. EMC had market share around 22% in India external storage market in 2011. Today, the market share swelled to 32% for the period Q1 to Q3 of 2015 as per IDC India report. During this period the storage market grew at 0.2% but EMC India market share over 10 percent points. The 17% CAGR of EMC India has beaten all odds.
I believe one of the prime reasons for success was our ability to redefine our GTM model every year since 2012. We increased focus on telecom, service provider, public sector and defense and BFSI. We started breaking districts into what we call ‘start up’ districts. We invested in telecom from end of 2013 end due to proliferation of devices and growing internet. We focused extensively on telecom in 2014 and 2015 which finally delivered the results. We started with ‘service provider’ district around the same time as cloud was gaining traction. And we saw impact from Netmagic, Tata Communications and other service providers. Our ability to invest ahead of the curve and then lay the bets on the best GTM has been the key.
On the product side, we were the first to lead with XtremeIO. Our pitch around scale IO and software defined gave a new perspective to the customers than our sole message of storage. These were better technologies and efficient ways of managing their IT infrastructure.
How much momentum was provided by EMC’s channel ecosystem towards this growth?
To a great extent. The ability to work with well entrenched channels has been our strengths. Three years ago, we announced a focused partner model instead of having say two hundred to five hundred channels. We had focused partners directly managed by EMC and growth partners empowered by distributors. It was an unheard strategy in India as the industry was skeptical of this approach of working with few dozens of partners. But those partners are happy with the focused approach as they know when they invest with us, EMC too invests back with them.
We invested in preferred distribution model two years back. The reseller can choose a single distributor (out of various distys of EMC) of his choice to work with for the entire year. The commitment by reseller to a disty evokes the same from the disty that invests in training, sales support etcetera. We started VAD model for enterprise products which has worked well to our advantage.
This year we started our inside sales operations. This team will work closely with partners to help address the spread of customers across India. We have hired a senior leader and twenty two plus people in this engine will help partners – focused and growth- grow their pipeline, give them qualified cases and help them increase wallet share.
We had more market connects with focus on customer events, customer engagement, partner engagement and taking the new message across the market. For example the 2-day EMC Forum India 2015 was attended by more than 1200 IT managers/professionals (including 300 plus CIOs).
Fine tuning GTM, Robust product portfolio, channel focus, market connect and last but not the least most importantly hiring the right set of talent.
What does 2016 hold for EMC India in view of pending mega-merger with Dell and ‘not-so-good’ global layoffs announcements by EMC?
The layoffs announcement was a part of earlier plan which EMC stated last year of saving annual costs by $850Mn.
We are pretty excited about the impending merger with Dell. The merger after it goes through creates the world’s largest privately held IT company of $80Bn revenues in total. The combined entity will be really powerful with four of the world’s greatest technology franchises or leaderships – server, storage, virtualization and PCs. The entity is far ahead compared to any other company that leads in these four domains.
As a timeline, the merger is likely to conclude in period of June to October 2016. Hence for a major part of 2016, it will be BAU (Business As Usual) for EMC as we continue to build on what we have done in the past and also look at the future possibilities.
Almost all of our customers during recent interactions are pretty excited too about the new value proposition of the Dell-EMC entity.
Dell seems to fine tune its overall value proposition as Perot Systems is on sale, other acquired companies like Quest software are reported to go the same route soon. Is it to make stronger entity before the final merger which is couple of quarters away?
I won’t be able to comment on the rumors in the marketplace.
But the rationale of Dell-EMC merger imparts lot of complimentary strength on the product side. Dell brings servers, PCs and entry level storage to the portfolio and EMC brings storage, virtualization, big data and cloud. It’s a cosynergestic match.
Dell CEO Michael Dell has gone on record to say that the merger is about revenues synergy and not about costing synergy. It’s more about growing the business together. And therefore we expect to see more and more of the portfolio leverage and a perfect synergy than layoffs etcetera.
It will be business as usual for EMC India.
Till merger happens, legally both companies will work in BAU mode because the customer choice cannot be limited. Post the merger, we will see the cross leverage of each other’s portfolio, GTM and other issues.
There is a microsite which has lot of information about the related issues around the merger. Michael Dell also mentioned about the strength of Dell in entry level and SMB to compliment the enterprise focus of EMC. And I believe the combined entity will be far more effective in the marketplace.
Do you seriously believe 2016 to break the overhype shackles for Big Data in India? What’s your GTM around Big Data?
Big Data is a technology domain that needs to be bifurcated and trifurcated at multiple levels. One being the pure play analytics piece which is application layer. The second piece is the whole open source movement and the use of particular software layer for data analytics. And finally the pure infrastructure beneath on collection and storage of data. EMC plays in the areas of infrastructure, software layer and open source part of big data.
Big analytics app is building business Data Lake based of scale out architecture that supports the open source Hadoop. It is built on enabling customers to collect the varied information spread across the organization. When the big data app goes live, they will require lot of hardware, storage and software from open source piece to be able to service the application.
Some of the apps will also require new kind of dev-op environment and that’s where Pivotal cloud foundry comes into the picture. Our objective this year is to embed cloud foundry into most of the public clouds as well so that it becomes the defacto standard. Big Data is clearly a big opportunity for EMC from both perspectives- infra and software stack.
Highlight EMC’s brownie points for CIOs and IT managers in 2016.
EMC’s TCE (Total Customer experience) with our products is first and foremost why CIOs work with us. The whole experience on not only buying but deploying and post-sales support. Second, our ability to innovate and disrupt ourselves in bringing the new technology to the market to ensure CIOs get the best technology. We are not on a time walk that we are the best and therefore we will continue to sell only VMax to everyone. I think we have evolved a whole set of products and some of those products have disrupted ourselves. We have a clear vision say extreme IO, software defined to the table have helped CIOs to remain as forefend of tech innovation.
EMC continues to invest in modern datacenter architecture that gives them confidence as most companies will eventually build the same. EMC will continue the path for CIOs around software defined, and cloud enabled DC.
2016 will be year of quantum leap for EMC India because there will be many announcements from product perspective, from technology leadership in flash, converged, software defined. And within first quarter itself this year, many things will come up to help us take the quantum leap.