After taking over as director for channel development for the India market,
Rahul Guha is on a channel structuring mission at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS).
His 12 years of experience in the channel space is being put to use for building
a strong partner family. Guha outlines how he plans to bring a mix of partner across the enterprise and mid-market segments
What changes have you undertaken in the last six months?
We are looking at an overall partner strategy to complement our business
plan for the year. The idea is to get the right mix of partners across our
enterprise and mid-market.
Hitachi Data Systems India Pvt Ltd
What kind of channel structure does HDS have in place? Do you have any
plans to expand this channel network?
All our partners are solution-centric partners. We look at the right mix of
partners across different geographies. The first set of partners is in place and
this has put us in a very comfortable position in the market. All our
solution-centric partners are spread across three geographical regions, North
and East as one region, followed by West and South as the other two regions. At
time we do work with opportunities-based partners also, where in some solution
provider approach us whenever their customer have a requirement from HDS.
How have you ensured a growth path for your solution-centric channel
Our partner program enables us to identify, scale and motivate the partners
consistently throughout the year. Performing partners are also shown a growth
path within the program.
What partner programs do you have for your solutions providers?
We have the Hitachi TrueNorth Channel Partner Program, which offers channel
partners a framework for building expertise in storage solutions. The program is
designed to help channel partners create new revenue opportunities while meeting
the growing storage needs of the customers.
Under this program there are three levels of partnerships.
Platinum Partner: This level is for solution providers or system
integrator (SI) with a dedicated storage practice, proven expertise in providing
storage solutions to corporate clients, and the highest level of technical
capabilities. This level is ideal for companies looking to grow their businesses
with service and support capabilities for specific products, technologies or
Gold Partner: This level is designed for solution providers with a
strong presence in a local market or experience in providing solutions in one or
more cateÂgories to include vertical markets, applications or platforms.
Gold Partners are HDS' 'Go To' partners for specific verticals, platform or
storage solutions. Best suited for companies that have a vertical or
platform-based approach to selling storage.
Associate Partner: These are for resellers who would like to sell or
fulfill HDS modular-class products and solutions, but are not ready to commit to
becoming a full-fledged certified partner.
What is the key thing that you look for while identifying partners for
your solution providers network?
Partners having the requisite level of passion, commitment and a solution
centric 'go-to-market' strategy, fit in.
With the presence of several competing solutions in the market, what
differentiates your storage solutions? And why do you think channel partners
should promote HDS products?
HDS' consistent and long-standing success is because of its ability to deliver
on long-term commitments. We understand customer's business, their pain areas,
their growth areas and all of these drive us to deliver on commitments. The
model is through channels and this allows partners to create a differentiator in
their value to the customer thereby allowing them the benefits of long-term
customer relationships too.
Do you consider the Indian solution providers matured enough to handle
high-end storage solutions of HDS?
Yes, SI partners in India are equipped to deliver and maintain customers on
What kind of marketshare, you have currently?
We are in a leadership position and we will continue to acquire marketshare.
What are the new technologies that are coming up in the storage business?
Simple SAN is a concept that is doing well in the SME/SMB space. On the
enterprise front, virtual tape library solutions are picking up. Recently we
have started a revolution in the virtualization space with disk-less network
Which are the key customer verticals that drive your business?
The market is cut across verticals including the traditional ones such as
IT/ITeS, manufacturing, BFSI and telecom. Recently, we unveiled India's first
Application Optimized Storage (AOS) laboratory in Bangalore. This 5,000 sq ft
facility is being used for demonstrating company's world-class and cutting edge
storage solutions to clients from various verticals in India.
How different is Hitachi's AOS lab from some of the comparative facilities
in the country?
HDS AOS lab is a one-stop end-to-end solution in the enterprise class segment.
One of the key objectives of the lab is to keep pace with newer technologies. It
showcases leading edge storage solutions to the Indian storage market. It
enables both existing and potential customers in mission-critical applications
to visualize the impact of such solutions on their business. It also allows
customers to configure and deploy storage infrastructure that is optimized for
Which are the HDS solutions that are doing very well in the entry-level
and mid-level segment? And who are the nearest competitors for these products?
Our modular range of storage solutions has a very strong penetration in
mid-market. HDS recognizes that customers have limited budget, staff, and
datacenter space. To meet these needs, HDS offers three modular storage systems
that incorporate many features from our high-end systems, but are scaled to fit
every customer's environment and budget. The three modular storage systems are:
Hitachi TagmaStore Network Storage Controller; Hitachi TagmaStore Adaptable
Modular Storage; and Hitachi TagmaStore Workgroup Modular Storage.