EMC's secret formula for regional success

Mohammed Amin has charted EMC's course over the past 15 years in the region

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EMC's secret formula for regional success
By  Manda Banda Published  August 18, 2014

Mohammed Amin, senior vice president at EMC is known in industry for avoiding technology hyperbole. Amin, who has successfully architected, masterminded and led EMC through multiple disruptive technology shifts, is shooting for the stars again. But this time the stakes are higher, bigger and the competition tougher for the information infrastructure solutions giant.

The IT veteran knows that the big data business applications play is no small experiment as EMC is not only battling IT superpowers such as IBM and Oracle in a quest for big data business applications supremacy, but consumer technology behemoths such as Amazon and Google, which already have fashioned big data networks that have changed consumer shopping and information-gathering globally.

As the regional head of EMC in an expanded geography that covers three continents, Amin’s job is to help channel partners lead the big data progression. To make that happen, Amin has laid out his vision that he believes should aid partners to embrace an open, data-centric, cloud-independent platform that should have all the building blocks they need to construct big data applications and services.

“It is not too pessimistic to say that unless channel partners develop these [big data business applications] capabilities of the future now, they will go out of business or will be rendered irrelevant in the market,” said Amin. “At EMC, we think at the end of the day, big data is not just about analytics and data intelligence,” he said. “It is about data-centric applications and driving some experience to an end-user customer and causing them to do things differently and in realtime.”

Amin said having been in the Middle East IT sector for the last 15 years, he has witnessed how technology adoption has shifted in that period. “Five years ago, the region was always behind North America and Western Europe in terms of new technology adoption,” he said. “In the last three years this has changed and it’s not there anymore,” he said.

He added that organisations in Middle East and Africa have become early adopters of new technology, innovation and solutions even before North America and Western Europe.

“This is a new thing and as EMC, we would like to take credit for this progression because we have been pitching this for a long time about how the region has the opportunity to embrace technology of the future now,” he said.

Amin said EMC has for the last four to five years been selling this story to businesses and channel partners alike that they need to jump to the future otherwise they will lag behind.

“The company has ploughed in investments in educating businesses, channel partners and the market as a whole about the new technology trends. We have not shied away from taking the lead in helping businesses and partners in the region to be among early technology adopters,” he said.

He pointed out that this effort has helped EMC to continue reaping rewards in the region and over the last few years the business has been growing 20% year-on-year in Middle East and according to analysts’ reports, EMC is the leader with 55% market share. “What this means is that EMC sells more solutions in this market than all its competitors put together which is unique in itself and good for the company and partner ecosystem,” he said.

EMC says the time is right to move the industry beyond the past 40 years of business IT, which primarily has been focused on automating what were paper processes on PCs, client/server networks and, finally, the Internet. This means leading the transformation in cloud, data intelligence and big data. “What is really different, I think now, is that unlike in the past when IT was the enabler of business, now it has become the business. Enterprises or businesses are realising that to be competitive in the future they have to be able to reach beyond just automating existing paper-based processes,” he said.

Amin said as an example, if you look at a large service providers or telcos, all they want to do is provision services via IT solutions to sell more and make more profits.

He acknowledged that being a leader in any market is a tough position to be in because everyone will be asking you to prove it. “We have been very clear as far as our partners are concerned that we want from day one of engaging them to know that they are the extension force of EMC,” he said. “That being the case, we look to our partners as the extension of EMC in the market and that’s why the company is investing a lot of money, effort and resources in the channel.”

He said the first thing that partners should do as they embrace data intelligence and the whole big data push is to invest. Amin added that certain business basics haven’t changed over the years and partners ought to know that if they have to make money they need to invest. “To have, begin or lead any conversation around big data, distributors and resellers in the region must have qualified professionals in this field,” he said.

That said, Amin explained that partners don’t have to start from the big data side, but from the customer’s business side. “This encompasses understanding the data environment, data generated, unstructured data not making any sense and structure data. From there, partners can start putting the effort and bringing their knowledge to bear by analysing the data and helping the client on how the new structured data will impact the business,” he said.

He added that partners have to show customers how to connect the business to the big data problem because of the unstructured data and turn it into real business.

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