Partner enablement for digital transformation


David Hazard, Vice President – Head of EMEIA channel & sales Operations, Fujitsu Technology Products, Fujitsu discusses the company’s focus on enabling partners take solutions to market

Discuss how Fujitsu is looking at the impact of the shifts in IT in terms of solutions made available for the channel?
The shift from old fashioned robust old fashioned IT methodologies and systems towards the new deployed fast IT, digital applications is happening very quickly. The consulting and deploying services required to manage the infrastructure is changing as well.
Fujitsu has all of those solutions and services in our end to end portfolio. We have been more recognized in the Technology client computing part of our ICT portfolio. For instance, many people know we make good notebooks, tablets, workstations etc. Some know we make good servers, storage and compute technology. But not many are aware we also have the solutions that answers needs ranging from enabling migration to a hybrid cloud environment to data security solutions for IoT deployments etc. The message we want to send to the market is that we provide those end to end solutions for mid-market and enterprise customers and are enabling our partners in taking such solutions to their customers.

Discuss the Enterprise focus and success in the segment so far? What is the partner focus in this business?

We want to consolidate and build on our enterprise success across EMEA. We want to bridge the perception gap and be seen as not only a client computing devices vendor and but also an enterprise solutions vendor. We have some very good client references across the datacenter integration space, managed infrastructure services, security etc. We do a lot of these business through our channel.
One of the big tasks ahead of us is how we enable and train our channel partners to take these digital solutions and services to customers. As I mentioned, while we have probably been well known as a Technology vendor, there is room for increasing the awareness in the value add channel about the end to end solutions we offer in the enterprise segment. We want to get closer to the VADs, the value add resellers and to the customers.

Elaborate on specific opportunities that as a company you are focused on?
SAP integration is an area where we have been quite successful and we continue to see growth in that segment. We see growth for the Fujitsu PRIMEFLEX for Hadoop integrated systems. There is growth potential for PRIMEFLEX Cluster-in-a-box solutions, which is a hyper-converged solution including Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 pre-installed and pre-configured as virtualized high availability cluster.
We see traction for such solutions especially in the mid-market segment, where customer maybe looking for their first deployments of virtual machines and also need to ensure it doesn’t cost a fortune. They would be looking for something that gets deployed relatively quickly and tested out. We are investing a lot in open stack, Microsoft cluster in a box, SAP and Hadoop, HPC as growth areas of focus.

How do you see SME customers taking advantage of the new age solutions?

There are thousands of corporate customers who want to do what large enterprises do but they don’t have the millions to invest in technologies that will get them to do all of what they wanted to. Five years ago, setting up a technology company would need 5 million USD but today you could set up a company with probably five thousand USD and some computers with access to the cloud. You don’t need the high cost infrastructure anymore. The way they want to do enable their infrastructure is without the complexities of deployments and integration.
The SMB is a strong focus for us and our partners as they need ready to deploy integrated solutions with which they don’t need to contend with complexities around deployment.

How are you managing the partners on this transformational journey?
For partners we offer the Fujitsu SELECT program under which once they come on board as Fujitsu registered partners, that allows us to send them information and provide them access to our partner portal. At the next level of this program, we have Experts who would need to have a couple of people certified and accredited on the Primergy server for instance.
What we are changing is that rather than ask them to retrain on the server technologies each year, we are asking them to look at what the integrated systems that include servers and storage are being used for and then train around those solution requirements. So we train them to take these solutions to market and focus on strategic areas of digitalisation and digital transformation. We are encouraging our partners to look at specializations in Hadoop, SAP integration, Microsoft cluster in a box, cloud, security etc. it is important they have a good understanding of the technology but it is more important to know the contexts and environments the solutions built around these technologies go into.

How do you see the role for distributors changing and what is the extent of your engagement with them?
Across the region including Europe, we work with about 90 to 100 distributors. Several of these are large distributors. Over the recent times, there has been consolidation in the distribution segment with some large ones acquiring the smaller. Earlier, either you were a volume or you were a value distributor but that is changing. In a few years from now, you will just have distributors who will focus across volume and value opportunities. We are making sure that our distributors are in sync with our end to end diverse portfolio and that this doesn’t stop with products but could extend into services such as opportunities around K5 cloud integration (a key part of the Fujitsu Digital Business Platform MetaArc) and potentially into IoT, AI integration etc in future.
The distribution and the reseller channel go hand in hand. A reseller cannot afford direct relationship management with 200-250 vendors and which is why it is easier for them to work with distributors. Resellers are starting to figure out areas they want to specialize and some are big enough to do all of them. The role of the vendor is to educate, enable provide rebate schemes and make it easy for them to buy from us always via a distributor. There will be a certain number of tier-one partners who buy directly from us and there will a small number of corporate and government customers who we sell to directly.

Discuss success with your cloud and the role for the distributor and the channel in taking it to market?
We have had a phased launch of K5, our next-generation IaaS and PaaS cloud service. This cloud computing platform enables digital transformation through integrating traditional IT environments into new cloud-based technologies. We have launched in UK, Germany, the Nordic countries and a couple of other Western Europe countries. We already some customer references but we are not competing with AWS or Azure and are rather enabling integration of applications into those environments.
We need to develop the value propositions around the cloud for this market and this is on our agenda with our distributors because they are best placed to enable the partners. For instance, some of the larger distributors are developing large cloud aggregation platforms and such platform enable resellers that are looking to put together some cloud solutions from different vendors and need help with the consolidation of billing, reporting and administration from a central portal.

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