EMC Services looks up to Big Blue

Storage giant EMC says its new global services division wants to emulate rivals like IBM and Accenture as the vendor tries to make up for shortfalls in its services offerings. The new arm, announced this month, has been designed to strengthen EMC's consulting, managed services and education offerings around the hardware and software it sells.

Storage giant EMC says its new global services division wants to emulate rivals like IBM and Accenture as the vendor tries to make up for shortfalls in its services offerings.

The new arm, announced this month, has been designed to strengthen EMC's consulting, managed services and education offerings around the hardware and software it sells.

"If you start to look at what we're doing to evolve our consulting business, for example, it's similar to what the IBMs and Accentures and others have done over the last couple of years," EMC Software president Dave DeWalt said in an interview with ZDNet Australia this week.

"A big part of our strategy is to create an offshore/blended shore consulting model to allow us to build solutions, more customers, [and] leverage human capital around the world."

The new organisation would focus on top-level consulting around business continuity and compliance, in the same way IBM has done, according to DeWalt.

EMC's services business has traditionally been horizontal in nature, he said, around broad issues like business continuity. However, these would be expanded and specialised to software stacks such as Microsoft and SAP.

DeWalt acknowledged EMC's lack of depth in these areas had meant the vendor's customers had sometimes sourced services elsewhere.

"In some cases, [from] our competitors, which wasn't a good thing for us. IBM has a very large global services organisation ... we felt competitive pressure there," he said.

"[We need] to make sure we appoint a presence with a customer as an advisor, much the way an IBM would or an Oracle would. To help companies you have to be there for them directly."

EMC wanted to be involved with customers from the design phase, to implementation, to maintenance, said DeWalt.

The executive also admitted EMC's existing services business had not seen the same growth as its software division, which has expanded in recent years through a number of acquisitions.

"If you look at other software companies ... they often do 15-20 percent of the total services themselves, 85 percent is done by partners. We're a little bit low, almost half of where we should be."

The local impact
The managing director of EMC Australia and New Zealand, David Webster, said the vendor's local office had plans to bolster its services capability.

"Today ... selling software without services doesn't work. So there's a couple of things we're organising around specific business practices," he said. "We are looking at increasing our headcount in areas specifically around, for example, e-mail [management].

"So we're building capability around the Microsoft area ... so Microsoft practices," Webster said.

The local moves followed the global services unit's pitch to talk to the business, not just the technology team, he added.

"How do I install and implement and integrate this platform into my environment? That was a traditional EMC service offering.

"The service offering we now add to that is 'What is the business impact of doing that?'. So we've layered in a set of business services which fundamentally have a different audience in an organisation," Webster said.

"Boards are saying: 'Are we compliant?', 'Do we have continuity plans if a terrorist attack was to occur in Australia?'

"If you look where we're being involved now, we're being involved up that value chain in a higher level of services," he added.

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