EMC’s Telecom, Service Provider Strategy Goes Digital

Jay Snyder
Jay Snyder

EMC Corp. and the telecom industry -- including carriers and emerging service providers -- have embarked on a transformative journey. Together. The digital road trip involves network virtualization, big data analytics and plenty more. The new technologies aim to unlock new revenue opportunities for telecoms and EMC’s alliance ecosystem.

Every journey, of course, needs a leader. Enter Jay Snyder, senior vice president of Alliances and Strategic Sales at EMC. With more than two decades of experience in high-tech and consulting, Snyder’s ‘know-how’ extends across sales, professional services, marketing and operations.

In his current post since May 2015, Snyder leads a 500-plus person global organization with a multi-billion dollar revenue target. Through Alliances, Snyder focuses on bringing uniquely differentiated industry solutions to market through strategic relationships and sales with systems integrators, strategic outsourcers, cloud service providers, OEMs, and EMC’s vertical sales organization.

But where exactly do telecoms and new types of service providers fit in the conversation? Snyder provided answers in this recent interview with ChannelE2E.

EMC's Alliance Strategy

ChannelE2E: The word “alliances” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. How do you define the term alliances at EMC these days?

Snyder: It’s a great question. Most times when I explain internally or externally what we do in Alliances at EMC, a lot of people get a look on their faces and say, “I didn’t realize Alliances did so much.” The Alliances organization has really become about a value chain -- a group of highly complex businesses that are tightly coupled.

When you look at Alliances at EMC and the revenues we influence, you’re talking about direct revenue, sell-through revenue or sell-with revenue. That represents several billion dollars in EMC bookings. Our Alliances include:

  • OEM business.
  • Industry segmentation where we have subject matter expertise and solutions across healthcare, state and local government, oil and gas, telecom and emerging service providers. That’s all about sales enablement, training and packaging the right solutions for the right customers.
  • Systems integrators.
  • Service providers.
  • Strategic outsourcers. And the lines are getting blurred, by the way, between systems integrators, service providers and strategic outsourcers.
  • Our Partner Growth Planning Organization. That’s new; it’s a core team that builds strategies and plans with our partners.
  • Telecom relationships, where we work with major telecoms across the globe.

ChannelE2E: We want to hear more about the telecom sector. But before we dive into that sector, let’s talk a bit about your own career journey. It’s been roughly a year since you moved into this role. Did you have a blueprint and/or a set game plan from Day One? Or did you take some time to develop the blueprint?

Snyder: I’m a big believer that it takes 90 days in a new role before you make any decisions. You learn quite a lot in those 90 days. We took a methodical approach -- a three month journey that extended into June 2015. It involved multiple work streams. We used our internal consulting team. Roughly 100 people participated across various work streams -- sales ops, professional services, consulting and more. We solicited partner input. We wanted to know what the blueprint for Alliances should look like, and how to differentiate ourselves in the market and inside EMC. We wanted to figure out our goals, how to measure our progress, and how to show success.

In a complex market, we emerged with a simply defined mission for Alliances:

“Help enable EMC to access markets that it can’t access on its own; and deliver incremental revenue for our partners and EMC, and create enhanced value for our customers.”

It’s an important mission because in our past we weren’t always thinking about being able to access opportunities that we couldn’t access on our own. With Alliances, we leverage our partners’ IP (intellectual property) and their reach or scale -- something unique and differentiated that delivers value to the customer. So you take the partner’s deep industry skills, take our horizontal solutions, layer on top their vertical know-how, and you can differentiate in vertical markets. But now we’re driving tremendously better business value to our customers. For example, we’ve recently delivered a services catalog for our internal stakeholders. Our Alliances experts can go through an EMC portal, point and click on the right solutions, and deliver even more value to the customer.

Related coverage: An example alliance in action involves EY and EMC.

ChannelE2E: Has anything changed dramatically in terms of the job you were walking into a year ago vs. the job you have today?

Snyder: I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what the journey would look like. I looked at it through three dimensions. It costs a lot to run and operate an alliances organization. And, of course, there are cost pressures on the business. So the three options were clear:

  1. You could scale back the Alliances effort and give money back to the company -- and try to build the organization back over time;
  2. You could stay the course, meeting partners in the field and managing through account collisions and leveraging great relationships; or
  3. You could do something radically different. You could break the entire organization down, create a new operating model, a new organization structure, a new compensation plan, a new mission and then launch net-new.

We chose the third option. I’m not afraid to call it radical. Of the three options we considered, it was the most complex, the hardest to execute, and the riskiest path. But it will have the biggest impact.

EMC’s Telecom and Service Provider Strategy

ChannelE2E: Now that we have the big picture on Alliances, let’s dive down into telecoms. Where do they fit into the alliances strategy?

Snyder: There are several places where they fit in. As the steward for our top telecom accounts globally and owning them from a sales perspective, I have a responsibility to make sure we have the best solutions in the market for traditional carriers and the service provider side.

Telecom is complex. There are nuances you need to address. So we partnered closely with EMC’s office of the CTO, led by John Roese. He has a strong telecom background. His team, run by David Hudson, has telecom experts. Also, David Frattura, who reports to John Roese, now also reports to me. He’s the CTO for the Alliances organization. That decision wasn’t something that we just threw on a piece of paper. There was a lot of thought behind it. It gives us tight coupling between telecoms and our product teams.

David Frattura has access to the telecoms. He can gather feedback and take it to the product business units. That ensures products are designed for the telecoms based on the specific customer requests. That’s a change for us. That didn’t exist before. We now have a governance council to provide direct feedback onto our product units.

Now, there are two things that will happen: We’ll either get feedback that allows us to update our products for the telecom. Or, if we can’t make the update, we can (A) reach out to a partner to modify the offering into a unique solution or (B) leverage our Open Innovation Lab in our CTO’s office. The lab can modify the product on-premises for the customer in real-time, then we can reverse engineer that code back into core product back at EMC. When a telecom is uniquely different, we now have answers for them. We can service them even when products don’t fit off the shelf.

ChannelE2E: How difficult is it to design solutions when the telecoms are a moving target? After all, many of them are trying to figure out their strategies in real-time.

Snyder: Transforming telecom is a massive challenge. But I like to focus on terms like “simple, relevant and incremental.” For telecom, that means thinking about transforming two dimensions -- the network and the data. We have to transform the way they build and use their networks. It can’t take them weeks and months to introduce new features. You need to start measuring that in days or even hours. Like cloud computing’s impact on IT, network virtualization is having a similar impact on the telecoms. It’s almost synonymous. So we’re driving the virtualization of network platforms and functions to allow the carrier to be much more agile. That’s something we do well.

Then there’s the data side of the conversation. When you talk about transforming IT or networks, the conversation often is about getting more efficient, driving down costs or managing risk. The data conversation is different. It’s all about making money. It’s about harnessing the power of the data to create a better user experience, better decision making, enhancing customer loyalty, reducing churn and more. There are so many ways to transform the business with data.

ChannelE2E: How much of the transformation does EMC drive on its own, and how much involves the EMC Federation of companies?

Snyder: No doubt, the Federation is important. And you also have to extend beyond the Federation. Whether it’s VMware for virtualization or Pivotal for Cloud Foundry on the data side, we’re embracing the Federation—and you’ll see us working more closely with Virtustream. But we’re not stopping there. We’re also bringing in great OEMs externally.

EMC Telecom Solutions

ChannelE2E: Which solutions within the EMC portfolio attract the most interest and consumption from telecoms?

Snyder: Of course there’s core infrastructure from the EMC portfolio, which telecoms need to protect and store data. That core infrastructure remains an opportunity. But we are really starting to differentiate around four areas:

  1. PCS: We’ve worked hard to create the EMC Provider Cloud Systems (PCS). That’s something we announced at Mobile World Congress 2016. It’s a software-defined network architecture supporting VMware, OpenStack and all virtual environments. It’s for management and orchestration, and it’s powered by analytics. I don’t want to over-sell it. It’s our first rev of PCS. But we’re pretty excited about it.
  2. Real Time Intelligence: This is a product we’ve worked on with Pivotal. It’s for real-time streaming analytics. How do you better understand subscribers, their devices, infrastructure and other use cases? How do you manage the network all the way out to the user experience?
  3. Service Assurance Suite: We have amped up the investment in EMC’s Network Performance and Assurance platform, and doubled its R&D team. This Network and Data Center analytics platform is used by many leading telecom companies and at its core is a proven, telecom-scale fault root cause analysis. We are extending this platform to be the leading fault management system for virtualized networks.
  4. Elastic Cloud Storage: We haven’t made a big splash with this yet but we intend to over the next three to six months. Telecom partners can white label it and sell it as cloud storage -- really cheap and really deep. We have a telecom with more than 1,000 customers up and running on this today. We want to replicate that across the board. That isn’t exclusive to telecom but there’s a telecom opportunity for sure.

ChannelE2E: How long will it take for telecoms to really make progress with the digital journeys you’ve described?

Snyder: I think it will be a journey of chapters. It will be important for telecoms to show success and monetize the data and compete with network virtualization sooner rather than later. Chapter one will be some of the basic network functions being virtualized across the major carriers. That’s table stakes. By the time you get to the end of the story, it’s going to be fully virtualized in the cloud. It will be managed and orchestrated by powerful tools, tightly coupled to retime intelligence. You’ll get more access to more meaningful data to keep customers and monetize new markets.

The book is still being written. But the chapters are closely related as you move through the story. We have to show the market it’s real. For example, some telecoms in Latin America are now onto their fourth generation of predictive analytics. They are driving revenue and reducing churn. My meetings have shifted from department leaders to CIOs to the presidents of each business. Those are technical solutions but they deliver business value that actually changes the business.

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