With social media, analytics and cloud, data has become a big game-changer. Also, with data for IoT and with AI and ML being played in, business decision making processes are becoming big drivers for digital transformation. Hence, it is really important for channel partners to up their game and address customer requirements
Hitachi Vantara, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, has prowess in the data domain. The company has been spanning across a phase of transformation whereby it has undergone a change in name, composition and go-to-market strategy.
“From being a pure storage company, we are now almost a digital company. And with that, we had to also change a lot of our structures accordingly. The biggest challenge with companies that have been around for the last 19-20 years is that, there is a propensity to get used to a particular style. Customers slot you in a particular way and partners see you in a particular light. So when we now go to market as Hitachi Vantara, we start from the very basics – explain to them, who we are, what our agenda is and and what are we up to. That is the most exciting part, because people are excited about it. They want to have a discussion about our entire data strategy, which is now coming up in a big way,” explains Anupam Nagar, Senior Director – Channels and Alliances, Hitachi Vantara.
“The most interesting part of digital transformation is that digitization leads to proliferation of data. And it is this data that drives a digital transformation. Here is the advantage that we have,” he adds. Rightly so, data is the new fuel and it works wonders for both the parties – the one who processes it into meaningful data and the one who consumes it.
“Many people who have access to these tools and technologies can actually reap great business advantages – that is our entire picture of DataOps. At one end, there are data generators and on the other, there are the data consumers. DataOps is the process to make an agile, automated transformation between the creator and the consumers,” he points out.
“As part of our strength area, from the beginning, we have been a champion in terms of storage. We are the only company which gives guarantee on data availability. From there, we are now expanding our footprint to not just data storage, but to activate and enrich that data, and then help the customer monetise that data. Now, with our portfolio being more elaborate, our entire go-to-market strategy has got realigned. We are looking at channel partners who can have a conversation with the customers regarding DataOps, data management or the data advantage discussion,”
Hitachi’s emphasis is also on making its partners the curators of data, so that they can address the customers’ changing needs and requirements. “Co-creation is a real activity wherein the tools and technologies and solutions that we provide to the channel partners are translated to business benefits for customers. We are trying to loop in partners who can put in some of their IP, and all the aligned areas of complementing solutions from different alliance partners, to co-create a solution. We provide partners with the building blocks, tools and technologies, which they will have to set up accordingly to solve a business problem for customers,” he explains.
“Monetization of data may mean several things. To cut down the cost of data also means monetising – saving money, is making money. Now customers have their own preferences as to how they want a particular project to be. Also here is where co-creation comes in. Partners need to have a consultative approach. They need to sit with the customer and understand the problem and sight. Of course, there is no guidebook which says how you can monetize. The channel partner needs to sit and analyse and arrive at a solution. The good thing is, all the tools that they need are available with us,” asserts Nagar.
Channel business transformation
The channel is evolving with time, and channel friendly companies like Hitachi are at the forefront to help them in their transition and help them achieve their goals. “That is why partners come to us from different areas as they want to have a new line of business. There are traditional strong SIs who want to branch out into a new solution area; there are small VARs who may come up with a different idea to expand their business; and there are born-in-cloud partners, who want to expand their reach, or ensure that the investment they have made in building customers, they can provide more solutions to that same base. We have to address them,” he stresses.
“Our channel partners have always viewed us as players in the high end of the marketplace. With Hitachi’s array of solutions, our partners are actually capable of providing all those services. As documented, we provide very limited professional services to our clients directly, and that too only as a backup if our partners do not pick up those services, but our approach is to have all our partners provide the services end-to-end,” Nagar concludes.