Iomega attempts balancing act

Jan Jensen,  Iomega’s VP of sales for EMEA, has the task of growing the vendor’s market share through a new channel that can balance Iomega’s consumer and SMB focus and parent company EMC’s enterprise dominance.

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By  Julian Pletts Published  December 1, 2008

At the start of the year, storage vendor Iomega was purchased by EMC for US$213m. Since then, Jan Jensen has been brought in as Iomega's VP of sales for EMEA and tasked with growing the vendor's relatively low market share in the region. That will involve forging a fresh channel structure taking into account both Iomega's consumer and SMB focus and EMC's enterprise dominance.

How will being part of EMC, an enterprise-facing organisation, influence your overall channel strategy?

One of the key benefits is that EMC has a well structured channel programme and at Iomega we also have a channel programme. So we are working on how to leverage the EMC channel programme across EMEA.

How will the enterprise focus of EMC suit Iomega's business here?

Clearly Iomega focuses on the consumer and SMB arenas. But EMC has a very strong claw in the enterprise market and that gives Iomega the opportunity to access business and a channel that we didn't have access to before. A lot of those big corporate resellers and systems integrators didn't look at Iomega previously, but now being part of EMC makes us more visible.

What sort of talks have you had with the EMC channel base?

We have had a lot of talks with the EMC people in Europe, but we have not yet started in the Middle East. Our status in the Middle East is a little different. First of all, we are trying to set up a station here to get our business started in the region.

We have previously been working in an export fashion out of Asia and we have just moved our business into Europe. We are trying to hire local people to run the business across EMEA.

Does that mean there will be more of a tangible presence from Iomega in the Middle East?

We are going to set up an office here or use the EMC office depending on which is more appropriate. Ours is really a channel business so we will be looking to hire channel people. Iomega sells 100% through distribution.

So how will your channel structure evolve as the EMC take-over is bedded down?

At Iomega today we have two distributors in the Middle East. These are Dubai-based distributors mainly focused on the regional market. We've just signed Empa, mainly to cover Egypt and Saudi Arabia. We are also looking at how we can expand our distribution landscape with more local distributors across the region.

Does that mean you are not happy with the coverage that you currently have in the Middle East?

No, we are happy with the performance of our partners, but there is not enough coverage on a country-by-country basis. We also aim to move from not only targeting retail, but the SMB segment too. That is where we need strong channel partners.

What do you look for from your Middle East partners when it comes to value addition?

Today, because a lot of partners are into the retail business, the added value they offer is financing, logistics and merchandising. On the reseller side, VARs give financing, which is a driver of channel markets.

What is the biggest issue that channel partners bring to you?

There is too much focus on price, it drives the whole profitability down. They have to look more at getting the value out of the products and moving away from a price focus.

What type of partners have you identified as part of the enterprise prospects associated with EMC?

For our network and storage products we are looking for systems integrators that are strong in the SMB segment and of course we now have the big systems integrators that EMC has been working with.

What targets do you have for Iomega in the Middle East now that the company is owned by EMC?

It is difficult to say because we are coming from a very low base to start with. By this time next year I hope to have installed a distribution landscape across the region and to have appointed distributors with the knowledge to do business on a local level. The next step will be  a structured channel programme aimed at VARs and retailers.

What is the most important message that you want to pass on to channel partners in your new capacity as VP sales EMEA?

We are here to recruit channel partners across the region.

How many partners are you looking for and in which locations?

We need to find a proper b-to-b distributor in Saudi Arabia and maybe one or two more distributors in Saudi as well. We also need one or two distributors in Egypt.

What market share are you aiming for in the Middle East?

We have got to aim for the same as we have in the countries in Europe where we are number one or two. For instance, in Spain we have around 27% market share, so the target will be around the same.

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