Imation is going beyond traditional removable storage solutions and targeting SMBs with its latest release of ‘Scalable Storage’ solutions. Here, the company’s VP for the South Asia region discusses the company’s initiatives in the Middle East geared at driving business through the channel.
Imation the storage vendor recently launched what it calls ‘Scalable Storage’, a brand of storage solutions and products aimed at helping small and medium businesses in the Middle East.
“The Scalable Storage range of products has been purpose-built to deliver maximum efficiency and enable ease of use in regulated bulk storage environments. Imation’s data archive, protection, and shuttle appliances reduce storage costs by optimising and automating many data protection and compliance tasks faced by SMBs,” said Brian J Plummer, VP, South Asia region at Imation.
Plummer was in Dubai for the launch event that was conducted in partnership with the company’s value add distributor in the region- Redington Value.
“In my role I cover operations across Middle East and East Africa, Australia and New Zealand, India and South East Asia. The Middle East contributes to 28% of the revenue from this region and is an extremely fast growing segment. The emerging opportunities in this region have driven us to revise our strategy to encompass a wider product offering with the right skill sets specialising in Scalable Storage and security,” he explained.
Despite the significant extension in its portfolio, Plummer added that Imation continues to consider the removable storage market, its core market.
“Although, we are expanding our portfolio, if one looks at our legacy, removable storage solutions are still our very core. We have made the necessary investments and acquired the intellectual property to bring our customers the best technology possible. While our operations in the Middle East are strongest in our core, we see this as an opportunity to further invest and develop this market,” he said.
He believes that the company’s broad product range covering home to professional storage is Imation’s key technology USP. “Our portfolio is extensively broad and while we have competitors across all those segments I don’t believe we have any competitors that provide the complete portfolio,” Plummer added.
In addition to its security and scalable storage product lines, in the Middle East in particular the company is also looking to broaden its audio-video information product category.
A key part of its strategy in the Middle East is partner selection. Plummer believes that in order to choose the right partners, vendors need to acquire a thorough firsthand knowledge of the local market. “Understand what you are trying to achieve in the market based on the dynamics and the ready demand patterns. Only then can you go about selecting the right partners,” he said.
The company has put in place a Scalable Recruitment Programme focused on value added resellers (VAR). “Through the program we look to engage VARs with extensive experience in the storage business or server storage business and with partners who have a system integration background. The program works towards enabling this channel through competency building through clear communication of and technical training. We have been pretty successful so far, having acquired 12 registered VARs in a period of three months in addition to a tier one partnership with Redington Value,” Plummer said.
Plummer added that one of the challenges that the company faces when it comes to partner selection is being able to find partners with the financial capabilities and right skillsets to sustain the brand’s overall growth strategy. “Partners not being able to maintain a steady flow of business, hinder the entire channel’s growth because customers feel let down in cases where the supply of products is irregular and erratic. In addition, finding the people who understand and know the technology is a considerable challenge. These are people who face the end customer and must be equipped to handle the hiccups and challenges of deployment. To counter these challenges, Imation firmly believes in fostering a close relationship with partners, that many describe as’hand-holding’. We consciously invest in the process of knowledge transfer until we believe the partner is self sufficient. Unlike other vendors, we don’t try and change our partners to fit our strategy but work with them to understand their strengths and leverage these strengths while working on their weakness,” he concluded. //