Business Process Innovation: EMC Select


The EMC Select program turns five years old this month.  Having been part of the five person team that launched it, I’d like to offer a retrospective of this very successful program.

The benefits of the EMC Select program:

Access a range of solution-completing products from industry-leading partners. Reduce complexity and minimize risk when implementing multi-vendor solutions. By purchasing all solution components through EMC, you can significantly simplify the design, evaluation, and procurement of your information infrastructure.

There had been internal proposals for EMC to resell one of the cornerstone products of the program [Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBA) from Emulex and QLogic] every year for 5 years before the Select program launched.  I had done the business case a couple of times; EMC could easily bring in significant revenue at reasonable margins with an estimated one or two people to run the program.  Unfortunately, at the time, the revenue and margin bars for the organization were higher than what we expected to deliver.  There was also concern around the business processes for the stocking, shipping and support of the products.  EMC’s E-Lab qualified solutions and told customers what to buy and where to buy it.  It was quite frustrating for those of us involved with these products; we felt that we giving money away.

Luckily, the idea was not forgotten.  Howard Elias, who was relatively new to EMC at the time, became the executive sponsor to start a solution-completer reseller program.  Rather than following EMC’s standard processes, the new program would form a tight B2B relationship with the partners who would be fully responsible for the stocking, shipping, installation and support of the products.  The first products were the HBAs and tape libraries from ADIC (now Quantum).  The team was given some latitude to be flexible in pursuing opportunities and creating new processes.  An important piece of the program was to launch a new IT B2B system, which eventually leveraged across the company to support  other supplier activities.  The first couple of years of the program were a whirlwind of activity that included signing up dozens of partners and training internal and external audiences.  One of my favorite things about the program was that with such a small team, everyone pitched in to help however they could – regardless of title or traditional job function.  There were a lot of challenges, but we had a lot of fun.  Here’s a photo from EMC World in 2006, where we brought in Boston sports greats including Tedy Bruschi, Jim Rice, and John Havlicek as a metaphor for how EMC Select partnerships are like a championship team.

EMC Select @ EMC World 2006 Boston w/ sports greats

The program now includes thirty partners, has sold product to over ten thousand customers, and is bringing in a significant incremental revenue stream – and still only has about a dozen full time staff.

The success of the EMC Select program is the result of three basic notions.

We knew that that customers wanted these products and, given the opportunity, would buy them from EMC.  We discovered that it was possible to form partnerships that resulted in external support of products sold.  The new sponsor not only challenged existing processes, but included an ambitious push for multiple products at the same time.  This approach allowed for faster growth and avoided placing the fate of the whole program into the hands of one or two partners.

Do you have an old idea that should be looked at again or a “rule” that can be reexamined to accelerate growth?

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman

One Response to Business Process Innovation: EMC Select

  1. […] EMC Select – working with numerous EMC groups, with partners and with customers, this very small team functioned like an internal start-up which yielded some fantastic financial results […]

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