Fujitsu channel man prepares for war on enterprise rivals

'There may be conflict but you’ve got to get on it quickly'

Fujitsu UK’s latest channel czar, Kevin Matthews, has promised tighter account management as he struggles to force his way into corporate clients dominated by enterprise rivals.

The former HP enterprise man was last month given control of both the channel and the internal direct sales force, following a year of declining sales through distribution and sliding market share.

Matthews has the luxury of wiping the slate clean - the badness didn’t happen under his watch. But after just a few weeks into the role, he’s working to assemble a credible battle plan.

“The strategy is to focus on a core set of capable enterprise partners that are existing and new,” he said.

Tighter account management is one of the tools he’ll employ to do this, claiming some rivals have a “low touch model” and others are entering a period of naval gazing - Dell/ EMC.

The PRIMERGY server line, Eternus storage and the converged platform will be the main area of the portfolio these 20 enterprise resellers will be pushed toward.

The newest entrants to sign up include CAE Technology and Future Generations, previously an HP only supplier. But Matthews said it is also back in business with Q Associates.

“The relationship stagnated; we weren’t trying hard enough,” he said. A lead generation scheme has run for the last month and Q Associates said it had received has received one lead a day for the past fortnight.

Andrew Griffiths, Q Associates, said Dell and HP have hundreds of accredited channel sellers so “differentiation” is challenging, and he reckons Fujitsu has “appetite to take market share”.

There was little evidence of progress in the first nine months of this year for Fujitsu distributors’ sales: desktops declined by double digits in each quarter compared to the same period in the prior year, according to numbers from channel analyst Context.

Workstations, notebooks and servers declined in two of the three quarters - all this meant the company ceded share of sales to rivals.

Matthews is in charge of the direct sales team so in theory should be in a better position to minimise channel conflict - previously the internal sales force was run by Richard Pianta.

The tech services sales team in Fujitsu don’t get paid for selling tin and only fulfil this when a customer asks for it, but they will compete with resellers for, you guessed it, services contracts.

Matthews said “there may be conflict but you’ve got to get on it quickly, be open and help to manage the situation”.

Peter Stroud, MD at Future Generations, said it’ll be chasing new accounts for Fujitsu, “the perception in the channel is that Fujitsu is having a real go at building market share”.

The company has recruited the likes of ex-Computacenter man Colin Smith to run PRIMERGY and converged systems, former XMA MD Ash Merchant is heading up education and HP veteran Dom Webb is in control of workstations. ®

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