EMC revealed some big news this morning with VSPEX, a new package its formed around several of its existing products to make for a ready-made converged infrastructure solution that’s channel friendly. Shortly after his keynote this morning, EMC CMO Jeremy Burton stopped by theCube with SiliconAngle founding editor John Furrier and Wikibon founder Dave Vellante to discuss in detail the marketing and goals behind VSPEX, as EMC faces growing competition from IBM and other vendors in the CI space (see full video below).
One of the main points Burton drives home is EMC’s commitment to their channel partners with VSPEX, addressing an industry-wide concern that vendors need to work more closely with their partners in assembling components, prompting the need for a shift in culture. As Vellante notes, EMC’s attacking a labor problem as IT spending continues to increase and smaller companies are getting to market faster and can outsource more freely.
Burton agrees with the shift in balance, and large companies like EMC have been forced to change. Solving issues at the IT level will reduce pressure across the company, and it became a matter of putting together the existing technology to “provide channel partners a solution they can package around, freeing up a bunch of time for businesses to develop analytics and ecommerce systems.”
This ability to enable businesses to focus on apps and software development is a continued goal for EMC. As Burton points out, “we want our channel partners to see these cloud building blocks to have a solid platform to build on top of. You want IT back in the business of innovating. Back in the ‘90s IT was a great innovator. In the early 2000s it was all about cost-cutting. If we can give IT a platform that just works, they can focus their efforts on innovation.”
The goal here is to solve the infrastructure problem to make room for more resources in IT, ultimately adding value at this level of the stack. EMC’s recent acquisition of Pivotal Labs was a step in this direction, building software in a nimble way and providing a host of app solutions the company can extend to IT.
VSPEX – and old brand in a new package?
The interview then turns to brand marketing, which Burton’s become known for as head of EMC, simplifying the company’s messaging around their products. For VSPEX, this is really about the channel partners. “We view our salespeople as an extension of our salesforce,” Burton says.
“They’re part of the family. You can leverage our brand and because it follows the specifications, we know it works. We have support agreements. I think it’s a win, and for the channel partner, we’ve got a great reputation and great industrial design. We want our channel partners to draft off that. For them to share in the EMC look and feel is a good thing.”
EMC’s goals around providing better support to its channel partners is a fresh take on marketing that’s really taking shape with VSPEX, but is something Burton hopes to expand to other areas of the company. “We produce a bunch of enablement materials where we’re relying on channel distribution to get partners up to speed,” Burton explains. “We say to them, leverage our branding. We have a marketing campaign you can tie in to and when you’ve got demand, we can work with you on the financing side.” It’s the type of end-to-end program, from the initial product offering to financing, that reiterates EMC’s commitment to their channel partners, and it’s something Burton would like to see more of.
“You can’t make commitments you can’t follow through with,” Burton goes on. “With EMC we have a direct culture, and we’ve made promises and not followed through. Within the past year we’ve improved that. With VSPEX we’ve built a product and a solution. We’ve made bigger commitments and the channel partners will make commitments back to us.”
So when it comes to VSPEX, it is a collection of technology that’s not necessarily new, but the innovation, Burton says, “is the hard work behind the scenes, which often doesn’t see the light of day.” Throughout internal testing and planning, Burton and his team realized just how important it was for them to rework their technology to make it a solidified solution for channel partners and IT departments, and it’s that ever-improving commitment that’s helped EMC reach a 52-week high in trading, maintaining remarkable earnings quarter after quarter.