A conversation with Jim Agnew, Ethos Technology

Jim Agnew, Ethos Technology
Jim Agnew, Ethos Technology

Channel lead emphasises distributor value beyond 'order taking'

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11 May 2021 | 0

In association with Ethos Technology (UK)

It’s his first day officially on the job and newly installed Ireland country manager for value added distributor (VAD) Ethos Technology, HPE veteran Jim Agnew, is explaining what makes the company stand out from others in the channel.

“An enterprise partner’s focus is on being an enterprise reseller, not necessarily on being a marketing or lead generation company,” he says. “A distributor or a vendor can give money to a partner and ask it to be a marketing company and find leads, but that doesn’t tend to work well in my experience.”

 

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“It’s much more valuable to go to the partner and say ‘we’ve got a great opportunity for you to close’ rather than say ‘here’s some money, come back and tell us what you find’,” he states.

Stressing Ethos’ credentials as a VAD, Agnew says it “is not just an order taker. Ethos goes out and looks for opportunities, finds them, develops them and works with partners through the sales cycle. We work with solution providers from registration, go on calls with them, speak to customers with them and can be involved all the way through the process, at the same time transferring knowledge and skills. I don’t know anybody else in Ireland doing that,” he adds.

With 31 years at HP and HPE, culminating in nearly four years as Ireland channel lead at HPE, Agnew is seeking to capitalise on his connections with channel partners in Ireland as he spearheads the launch of the Irish arm of Ethos Technology.

“I bring my experience and business relationships with partners. I understand their business models and strengths very well,” he says.

Youthful exuberance

Agnew is excited by the opportunity, describing Ethos as “a young company that’s growing fast”.  The team at the distributor are “very enthusiastic, they’re go-getters. I like that, it’s exciting. For me, I think I’m in a very good position because I’ve got the relationships and I’ve got to get out there and get stuck in. I’m very enthusiastic about it. I’m working with a great bunch of people and their model is a proven success.”

It’s fair to say that Ethos is very happy to have him on board. “Having Jim join us as country manager is great for Ethos,” enthuses CEO and co-founder Omar Galbraith. “His vast experience and appetite to lead and disrupt a new market, combined with Ethos’ innovative approach and best in class vendors, is sure to be a success.”

Head of channel for UK&I, Steven O’Neill, is also very impressed by Agnew’s credentials and experience. “When I started to look for someone to be our first hire in Ireland, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task,” he reveals. “I needed to find someone with huge Irish channel experience with a personality to fit Ethos and, most importantly, a drive to make Ethos a success in Ireland. Having interviewed dozens of candidates, Jim stood out immediately as a great fit.”

He adds: “With Jim on board and plans to hire a bigger team in Ireland to support him, I am excited about our first year in the Irish market and the true value-add we can bring to the partners and our vendors.”

The distributor is focused on new and growth technologies in areas like data management, data analytics, converged and hyper-converged compute and storage, back-up, disaster recovery and cloud.

The company’s vendor roster is made up of Pure Storage, Cohesity, Io-Tahoe, Datacore, Datadobi, Cirrus Data and Fortanix. And TechCentral.ie can exclusively reveal that Ethos is now the sole distributor for Panzura in UK&I. As a gauge of success of its model, Ethos has grown 170% in 2020 and is on track to grow by a further 200% this year.

Agnew has high expectations for Ethos in Ireland. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people in the Irish channel and there is huge interest in the technologies Ethos are bringing to market” he reveals. “A lot of our vendors are new to Ireland, and those vendors that are already established, invited Ethos into Ireland to help grow business and find net new customers.”

The distributor “has chosen its portfolio very well,” he believes. “It’s almost like it’s curated.”

The Ethos model focuses on finding and developing opportunities and working with partners through the sales cycle. “That’s something partners really get,” Agnew observes. “Nothing makes them happier than bringing them a real live opportunity and helping them work through it.”

His job is “to get out there, spread the Ethos message, engage with partners and get them some deals”.

Being specific

Ethos is taking a measured approach to its Irish activities. Agnew says it has “a number of key partners that we plan to work with. It’s not a broad range. We have identified the solution providers who have specific capabilities and who play across a range of customer segments in the enterprise space.”

He identifies their qualities as being able to understand customer issues and challenges and provide the solutions and services that give them serious credibility with their customers.

Agnew has already spoken to several of the partners Ethos has in mind. “I’ve explained the model and how things work and I’ve seen huge interest,” he remarks. He is in the process of talking to them about how they and Ethos can work together and expects “to build out an individual plan with each partner” from there.

In some cases, it may be that elements of the Ethos’ portfolio will appeal to partners that have carved a niche for themselves and who like “a little bit of exclusivity, to find something they excel at and focus heavily around.

Agnew says “the sweet spot” is bringing products to a partner that are complementary to the skill sets they have in particular areas. The advantage Ethos has over other distributors is that it has a tightly defined number of vendors and a select number of solution providers, compared with other distributors who may have up to 80 vendors to represent.

Asked why partners should be interested in working with Ethos, he replies: “Ethos is proven in the UK and will prove itself in Ireland. It will bring massive value to partners – and vendors. We have top class vendor solutions to help customers address key trends and challenges in data management, software defined data centre, hybrid cloud, compliance, security and artificial intelligence. Let’s take them to market together.”

For more on Ethos Technology visit www.ethostec.net



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