Hitachi flags channel expansion, mid-market targets

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Storage specialist Hitachi Data Systems is targeting increased channel sales by expanding its geographical and vertical coverage with new partners.

Storage specialist Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) is targeting increased channel sales by expanding its geographical and vertical coverage with new partners.

Michael Heitz, Australia and New Zealand channel director at HDS, said the storage vendor had seen its channel sales grow 60 percent over the past year and wanted to build on that success.

"We've already doubled last year's Q1 and Q2 [is strong]," Heitz said. "We're building presence in the lower market and bringing enterprise technology into the mid-market."

HDS was eyeing Tasmania and South Australia for a channel buildup but was also looking at going into the Northern Territory. "In all other states, we're looking for vertical partners," he said.

Likely verticals would include government, education, financial and healthcare, he said.

HDS would focus on recruiting three or four new channel partners with a different focus to existing partners. The vendor wanted to avoid channel conflicts of interest where possible, Heitz said.

It was possible that some existing partners might be cut but that would be a natural progression as a result of taking on new ones. HDS had no definite plans to lose anyone, he added.

"Sometimes businesses go in different directions," he said. "But I think there will be a few partners that we'll dissolve."

Meanwhile, HDS would keep investing in its current partners via storage and pre-sales training sessions, Heitz said.

Heitz said HDS saw a "huge" growth opportunity in the mid-market, which it claimed was partly due to its TagmaStore brand.

"TagmaStore is our new branding of our new product range that started with a major release last year, with a universal storage platform that brought virtualisation into the market," he said.

Further HDS releases, such as the NSC55, aimed to bring enterprise virtualisation further down the market, he said.

HDS was seeing its biggest sales growth in software in the storage management, data protection, back-up and recovery areas, he said.

"Storage is only part of the bigger picture of the solution," Heitz said. "That's where the business drivers and cost reductions [are]."

The vendor had a dedicated channel team of 12 in Australia, including two recently hired channel sales representatives. However, HDS expected to have several more new openings for staff over the next few months, Heitz said.
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