Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has promised its channel access to the vast majority of its UK customer base after creating a "hard deck" of direct accounts.
The vendor said the channel is a key corporate priority in the UK, and as such, it is taking significant steps to drive more business through partners.
From now on, just four or five UK accounts will be dealt with direct and outside that, there is a "firm expectation" that another 70 enterprise accounts will have some sort of channel strategy. The 70 accounts will still be led by HDS, but channel partners will be brought in to add extra value, it said.
The rest of HDS' 1,000-strong UK customer base will be transacted entirely through the channel, according to its UK managing director Richard Gadd, who pledged his commitment to partners.
"By necessity, the channel needs to be involved," he said. "Candidly, I can't scale past 150 of those 1,000 customers unless we really leverage and focus on the channel. If I prioritise the things that I absolutely have to get right, first and foremost, it is getting that channel engagement right."
Gadd joined HDS at the start of this year following eight years at EMC, where most recently he was a senior director for EMEA global accounts. He joined HDS at the same time as its UK channel director Harvey Smith left for VMware and a few months before the departure of UK director for channels and alliances Neill Burton, who recently popped up at BMC.
Gadd said one of the goals of the senior management team – which includes new UK and Ireland chief operating officer Lynn Collier (pictured), who took over Burton's former responsibilities – was to better organise the way it divvies up customer accounts.
"We've re-segmented the UK organisation," he said. "Previously the segmentation was on the RAD model – retain, acquire, develop. That meant you had small accounts segmented with large accounts... some would be direct, some indirect. The segmentation didn't follow how you wanted to go to market with them.
"For example, with Lloyds, they will have more synergies with a large banking organisation than with an SMB. For me, that seemed to be a more logical segmentation in terms of how we focus and how we align our resources."
New COO Collier said she has been keen to improve communication with the channel.
"[The] account segmentation... will be formally communicated to partners, which is something we haven't done particularly well before – it has been more ad hoc," she said. "The structure is certainly something that has been welcomed by the partners I have been talking to."
She added that the account segmentation forms part of her plans to make HDS a partner-first vendor which includes extra back-end rebates for the channel.
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