Features, Vendor focus

Western Digital drives education in the channel

Khwaja Saifuddin, Western Digital
Khwaja Saifuddin, Western Digital

Khwaja Saifuddin, senior sales director, Western Digital India, Middle East and Africa, explains the firm’s priorities around channel education and training in 2018.

As the creation of digital data gets amplified with customers making the move towards digital transformation, security becomes a crucial element in this journey.

Identifying the gaps in the market, data storage vendor Western Digital believes it is well-equipped to cater to the rising demand in the digital environment today.

Khwaja Saifuddin, senior sales director, Western Digital India, Middle East and Africa, says, “We have the best data storage solutions for every appliance creating digital data in any environment. This includes right from flash-based storage and hard drives to high-end solutions for enterprises.”

Saifuddin says that being the only storage company in the top ten patent holders of IEEE, just behind Google and Apple, gives the firm a bigger responsibility to ensure its ecosystem is trained and knows how to face the current trends and market developments.

“It clearly demarcates and differentiates us. Today automatic and self-driven cars are gaining prominence, which also uses our NAND and flash-based embedded solutions.”

At the security trade show Intersec, last month, WD was showcasing its Purple range of surveillance hard drives along with other key solutions for enterprises.

According to Saifuddin, from a storage security perspective, the rapid growth in resolutions is fuelling the need for more and more terabytes of storage.

“The biggest challenge today is educating partners and customers on the importance of security within data storage solutions. Another challenge is the resistance on the implementers’ side in understanding the differentiators between purpose-built hard drives, which are built for security and surveillance environments, and hard drives meant for a conventional desktop.”

Saifuddin adds that this is an ongoing challenge.

“Our biggest investment in marketing is towards education. With intensive training and education, our partners are not only knowledgeable about handling our products but the entire ecosystem. We feel it is our responsibility to enhance their skills to understand how technology trends are moving and to ensure they don’t get left behind.”

WD enables partners to see how the firm’s offerings can be a part of a bigger solution for their customers.

He adds, “We also have specific partner programmes, which are around security and surveillance.”

While the company has a channel partner programme called myWD, it also has a security surveillance programme aimed at the security implementers in this segment.

“This includes the people who install the cameras at customer premises. We train these installers on how to handle the drive and install it. We teach them the dos and don’ts, unlike any other vendor,” Saifuddin adds.

While many vendors’ relationship with the reseller ends after the transaction, he says, “At WD, we take it one level further and urge those installers directly to enrol, get trained and certified. This gives them immense confidence because now they have the brand behind them.”

“Education,” says Saifuddin, “will be the primary objective for the firm’s channel strategy in 2018.”

The priority will be to get more people trained, which will create a wider acceptance on the product side, according to the senior sales director.

“Partners are bogged down with their transactional activities that they do not give the due importance to these quality building backbones. That’s where our whole efforts come into the picture – we want to get them from moving boxes to selling a solution.”

Over the course of this year, we can expect to see WD widening its product range and strengthening its market penetration.

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