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HDS: A verticalized GSI is paramount to our growth

Interviewed on Nov 23, 2011 by Shantheri Mallaya
Michael Cremen
Michael Cremen, SVP, Global Accounts and Worldwide Sales Operations, HDS Indian SIs have a big appetite for training and development and they get the benefit across the board

Interview Questions

Full Interview with Michael Cremen

CW : HDS has a clear-cut Global System Integrator (GSI) program and vertical strategy and is aggressive about the India market. Could you elaborate on the rationale behind these moves?

Cremen: For years, we have been successful in selling horizontally; we sold some directly, some indirectly. We did not have a sharp vertical focus, that is, specific practices built around verticals that we could play in best. Globally, we have identified healthcare and life sciences, and communication and entertainment as key verticals for our growth.

In order to be successful, we needed technologies that worked well on the applications within these industries. We also needed alliance partners such as Microsoft and SAP. Besides, we also allied with GSIs who are paramount to the go-to-market strategy. These organizations have bandwidth, both from a geographical and vertical standpoint. In the last couple of years, we have seen tremendous growth in India and the APAC region. HDS has aligned with a few partners in Europe and the US. In India, the top 5 GSIs are our partners.

We don’t have aspirations to do what the SIs do-we are a products and solutions selling company, and to get into the services element of these components is not what we would want to look at. So, it’s a complementary relationship that would help us grow. We have taken tremendous care with regard to who becomes a part of our select program.

CW : Doesn’t the GSI program create a conflict of interest in the terms of market opportunities amongst your GSIs as all are potential beneficiaries for the markets they operate in?

Cremen: We don’t really foresee such a situation. Finally, it is about the commitment and the terms of engagement between the two parties. We do not pursue conflicting business with multiple partners on the same projects, irrespective of geographies.

 

CW : Since India is now an increasingly significant market for HDS, what kind of investments have you made in India?

Cremen: Significant investments in India have gone into people, whether it is alliances, technology, building solutions with partners, centers of excellence, and in assistance of opportunities to partners from a sales coverage standpoint. Another big piece is training and development. Indian SIs have a big appetite for that and stress on the importance of ramping up their teams with the latest technologies and formalized competencies. It is a serious requirement and concern area, and is importantly, ongoing. If you look at the GSI program, Indian GSIs get the benefit across the board, since these players are large global companies with bandwidth overseas.

CW : What is in store during JFM?

Cremen: Going forward, the GSI program along with the key verticals will surely make the remainder of OND and JFM extremely interesting and exciting to watch out for. Our growth in APAC has been double digit, and it has been the case quarter –on –quarter. Our value engagement model with the GSIs has helped us garner traction in the government, telecom and the BFSI sectors in India.

CW : HDS has been talking about the cloud for a while now. So, how will you drive and position your cloud offerings as a part of your overall strategy?

Cremen: We want to offer cloud as an enablement to partners to make their virtualization offerings agile, robust and enable them to go after the private, public cloud or even work towards a hybrid model, as they think fit. But where we really see tremendous growth is in unstructured data, particularly in the healthcare sector. HDS has Hitachi Dynamic Replicator (HDR), which is resonating well with our partners. We envisage significant success with this.

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