HITACHI Data Systems is setting up a channel partner programme in New Zealand that mirrors its international practice.
The programme will formalise channel support structures already in place by local distributor Hosting & Datacentre Services (HDS) along the lines of Hitachi’s global True North partner programme.
HDS, which is 49% owned by Hitachi Data Systems and is the vendor’s de facto presence in New Zealand, meanwhile plans to expand the size of the Hitachi channel and will push more business through resellers, although it will hold onto a few key large accounts, says CEO Roger Cockayne.
“Certain customers demand direct attention, but some can be managed by channel partners. We will have a defined line and clear policy to ensure there is no conflict with the channel,” he says.
Michael Heitz, Hitachi’s Sydney-based channel director for two countries, who joined the company three months ago, is implementing the new channel structure across Australia and New Zealand.
“We are reinforcing our systems and structures to focus on our channel where our biggest growths are coming from and will have a team dedicated to the channel,” says Heitz.
Under the new structure 13 dedicated channel managers reporting to Heitz will support each Australian region and New Zealand. Heitz plans to announce in the coming weeks who the local manager will be.
The Hitachi partner programme comprises three tiers — platinum, gold and associate and Cockayne is keen to assist resellers attain these certifications, adding he wants to appoint more resellers, especially in the under-serviced South Island.
“There is a massive gap in the storage market, which creates opportunities for companies with experience in managing data and businesses processes,” he says.
The new channel approach comes as Hitachi Data Systems prepares to launch a new range of products aimed at small to mid-sized companies.
“Our biggest market share is in the tier-one storage space, but our biggest opportunities are in the small to mid-sized market,” says Heitz.
Heitz cannot yet disclose details of the upcoming releases, but says the new offerings will provide the same quality of technology Hitachi employs in its higher-end gear, but at a more competitive price.
The company is not turning its back on the upper crust of the storage market, however and last month introduced its new enterprise storage platform, TagmaStore. Heitz concedes though that the market for this range is limited in New Zealand.
He says the TagmaStore platform is capable of managing up to 32 petabytes (one petabyte is equal to about 1,000 terabytes) of storage, which is more than all the information stored in New Zealand. “TagmaStore sets a new benchmark for storage as it provides complete virtualisation,” he adds.