Paul McLean

Doug Woodburn
clock • 7 min read
Paul McLean

Name: Paul McLean

Role: Channel & alliances director UK & I, Fujitsu

Spirit animal: Lion

Walk-on song: Whatever It Takes

How would you summarise Fujitsu's channel philosophy?

Working in true partnership to really understand our joint customers' challenges and opportunities and to address them together through the right solutions, services and consumption models. This helps ensure together we drive the value needed for both our customers and society. This can only be achieved through focused partnering and ecosystem optimisation.

I played for and captained England in hockey in my youth. Despite being Scottish!

Tell us about Fujitsu's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…

Fujitsu's Select Partner Programme continues to evolve to meet our partners' needs in the world of digital transformation. Focused on skills and capabilities rather than thresholds, the Fujitsu Select Partner Program enables the partners to focus on the relevant customer centric solutions including hybrid cloud, workplace modernisation and transformation, integrated systems and data protection.

How many partners do you work with in the UK?

We work with over 1,500 partners currently in the UK & I.

Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?

We are always looking to recruit the right new partners - whether traditional VARs, MSPs or new ecosystem partners in the UK & I. The complexities of our customers can only be addressed by the right ecosystem of partners and alliances. Increasing our reseller breadth is a key focus with our distribution partners.

Fujitsu is focused on strategic areas centred on solving our customers' most pressing issues. Our channel plays an integral role in delivering these solutions, consequently, we are looking for partners who have the expertise to act as Fujitsu Champions in the areas of data driven transformation, hybrid cloud and workplace.

Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?

Fujitsu Ecosystem Platform is the latest step in the evolution of our ecosystem approach. The platform provides a dynamic space where customers and existing and new partners can collaborate, innovate and generate new business value. The platform's features allow partners to interact at many new levels, from promoting their own value-adding solutions and innovations to posting "challenges" for new partner-to-partner collaborations to fulfil complex customer projects. It also promotes the formation of micro-alliances to assemble and deliver complete customer solutions.

Describe your perfect partner?

Fujitsu's perfect partner is a partner who is focused on real partnership and its ecosystem to drive exceptional customer experience, in-turn enabling our customers to thrive and drive a strong contribution to society.

In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?

The breadth of Fujitsu solutions and services means that focusing on the right areas to address our customer needs is critical. To truly address these complexities, we have an ecosystem and partners who understand where their skills and capabilities are best in class and where to partner to ensure the best possible results for our customers.

Critical investment areas are around digital transformation, cyber security, hybrid working optimisation and hybrid cloud. However, there are real needs for our partners to continue to focus with us around sustainability to ensure we are together contributing towards CO2 targeted reductions that are critical for our environment.

Our best partners have a detailed understanding of our customers' priorities and focus areas. Together we need to work with our customers using key tools such as Fujitsu Customer Experience Labs to ensure we continue to enable our customers to differentiate with their IT systems.

Increased focus around consumption models, tools and billing platforms will also be a critical investment area for our partners.

There are real needs for our partners to continue to focus with us around sustainability to ensure we are together contributing towards CO2 targeted reductions that are critical for our environment

How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?

In my 30 years in the channel, I have seen vendor programs evolve and adapt to market changes. The channel is more important than ever in addressing the complex challenges of our joint customers.

I expect to see the acceleration of consumption-based computing across all areas. Our customers need this flexibility and agility and it's critical that our programmes and compensation models reflect this.

As previously mentioned, the focus around optimised ecosystems will be critical and will help ensure the skills and capabilities needed in a rapidly changing world.

Fujitsu has also invested into the regional sales model where we have Fujitsu sales teams focused on winning new business in the region and then working back through the local Fujitsu partners.

I expect to see the acceleration of consumption-based computing across all areas. Our customers need this flexibility and agility and it's critical that our programmes and compensation models reflect this

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

  • Investing in and upskilling our partners in the UK & I. Working closely with our sales and technical community.
  • Working closer than ever with our partners to really understand our customers' focus areas, challenges and opportunities - driving our Customer Experience Labs together.
  • Continuing to increase reseller breadth. Working with our new UK based inside sales team and distribution partners to ensure best of class onboarding and engagement.
  • Working closely with our UK & I distribution partners to mitigate the industry wide supply chain challenges - through channel assembly and local initiatives.
  • Ensuring my teams development and well-being!
  • Driving choice in commercial models for our partners and customers through our leading U Scale consumption offerings across all our portfolios.

Do you feel Fujitsu is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?

This has been a huge area of focus for Fujitsu. We have continued to increase our headcount focused on our MSPs and U Scale offerings both locally and within Europe.

The industry has to evolve its partner payment programmes to recognise these changes and Fujitsu has launched the referral partner programme to reward different types of partners within an ever-expanding ecosystem.

Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?

Minimising and proactively managing any route to market conflict is a huge focus at Fujitsu. It is critical you have a documented list of hard deck direct accounts and an effective deal registration process to manage these. Early and open communication with partners is always critical to avoid RTM conflict.

Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?

Real collaboration - it's critical in ensuring we succeed together.

Not one I see in Fujitsu partners in the UK - lack of trust.

How do you feel Fujitsu's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?

From both local discussions and results from the Canalys EMEA Channel Leadership matrix, Fujitsu's margin and profitability is identified as a key strength.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?

I think like most vendors currently, I would wave my magic wand and make supply chain challenges disappear.

What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?

Over the last twp and a half years, it's definitely been ensuring the mental well-being of my team and the wider Fujitsu Platform business employees. As leaders it's critical we have recognised the breadth of different challenges the pandemic has created across our teams and addressed these individually.

In such a fast moving and dynamic market - prioritising focus around the key areas that make the greatest difference to our partners and customers.

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know

I played for and captained England in hockey in my youth. Despite being Scottish!

What is your spirit animal?

As a Leo, I would have to say a Lion. Strong individually but much stronger as part of a team. The lion represents courage in the face of difficulties and strength in overcoming challenges.

What would be your walk-on song, and why?

‘Whatever It Takes' by Imagine Dragon. What great song, and the title says it all!

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