Structure and empowerment
Michael Jackson talks to Billy MacInnes about how Fujitsu is changing its approach in Ireland
14 March 2019 | 0
“Fujitsu is refocusing and reinvesting in the channel in Ireland,” That’s the message from Michael Jackson, channel manager at Fujitsu Ireland. It’s the next step on a process the vendor began in the UK two years ago with the appointment of Paul McLean as channel sales director at Fujitsu UK & Ireland. Over the course of 24 months, Fujitsu has increased the share of its product business going through the channel from 50% to 80% and is working towards an objective of 90% over the next 12 months.
Jackson’s brief is to replicate this model in Ireland. He was recruited to the channel manager role by Fujitsu in September, after six years as general manager in Tech Data. “The quality and range of the product set and the programmes available for the channel partners were what attracted me to the role,” he says.
He freely acknowledges that Fujitsu has dipped in and out of the channel in Ireland over the years although Total Import Solutions (TIS) has been a consistent distribution partner here for a number of years. “There was no real structure in the last number of years.” Jackson is now charged with recruiting sales and technical staff in Ireland as the company seeks to ramp up its channel activities.
“The commitment is to grow the channel business in Ireland and to work closely with resellers,” he stresses, adding that there’s a lot of work to do from a marketing perspective. “The challenge we have is brand awareness and it’s part of my role to get out front and centre with resellers to get the message out.”
What is that message? That Fujitsu has a number of programmes and services that can help partners get solutions to their existing customer base. From a product point of view, it can provide client PCs, laptops, workstations, servers and storage, including “one of the most cost-effective all-flash arrays in the market”. When combined with the programmes it has in place, “this makes us an attractive proposition to our channel partners”.
Jackson argues that the hardware opportunity in Ireland is very strong. “If you look at the hardware market in Ireland, it has grown and it’s a bigger opportunity now than it was ten years ago,” he notes.
As for the vendor’s service provider programmes, they have been “getting a lot of attention”, he adds, “because they enable resellers to provide services to their customers with no upfront investment while benefiting from Fujitsu’s technical and financial investment in those technologies”. The programmes are part of the company’s objective to transact 50% of its data centre infrastructure business through service providers by 2020.
Fujitsu says the programmes empower service providers by playing to their strengths while drawing on the vendor’s. They have a range of options from co-creating solutions with Fujitsu, servicing the Fujitsu technology themselves or letting the vendor do it for them and taking part in joint demand generation from marketing to sales for co-created solutions.
The vendor is also trying to eliminate the risk from partner growth with a number of options, such as pre-agreed commercials and no storage capacity licensing to make upgrades easier. It can also deliver unique cloud sourcing options from its portfolio or partners can get to market quicker with solutions from Fujitsu that are ready to go.
“Our message to partners is that if you’re looking to bring next generation services to your customers, look no further than our range of ready-to-go solutions. If you want to de-risk your existing services or build a new service on a ready-to-run platform, we can help you. Whatever you want to do, our platform can provide a springboard for your growth,” Jackson states.
He also emphasises the role that Fujitsu’s “higher performance technology” can play in helping service providers “to reduce costs because of industry-leading energy efficiency, lower total cost of ownership with world record breaking performance even at full capacity and implement and access each system quickly and easily thanks to our consistent design approach”.
Fujitsu can “cover services from the very basic extended credit through to leasing, hosted-as-a-service, consumption on demand or virtual desktop-as-a- service”. The latter is being embraced by the user community, Jackson reveals. “The timing’s right and we have the working models now. It has struck a chord with customers who want to mange their data onsite but benefit from the DaaS technology solution. With vDaaS, we will provide the kit upfront and will put the equipment on premise at the customer site if required at no additional cost. That’s something the reseller would not be able to do on their own.”
The vendor also offers a reliability guarantee on its servers, SANs and professional workstations that gives customers a repair and full refund of the purchase price if a hardware defect covered by the Fujitsu Standard Warranty occurs within a year of purchase (although not for hard disk drives). Jackson believes this is “unique” to the market.
He says that Fujitsu’s aim is to “try and enable resellers to put their equipment and services in place at the lowest investment from their perspective. We’re trying to enable them to get the business across the line. The services and programmes we’re trying to push are about how they can get their solutions into their existing customer base”.
Jackson observes that there is “a gap forming between the really big guys and the rest” when it comes to the service provider market. “We’re helping them to bridge the gap so they can continue to compete with the backing of someone like ourselves.”
Summing up, he admits that the Fujitsu “channel hasn’t been as looked after as it should have been, but we’re here now and we want partners to look at what we’ve got to offer now we’re investing back in the channel in Ireland. We’re trying to bring a toolbox to resellers that they can take one piece from or all of it and we’ll help them to drive their business further.”