The Mid-Range: An Untapped Market, Part II Page 3


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Continued from Page 2

Bringing Third Parties into the Mix

That raises another issue of whether or not mid-range firms will balk at the suggestion of third parties managing part of their infrastructure. Lopez seems to think that it has nothing to do with the size of the actual company, as most businesses would rather manage their infrastructures internally before considering third parties. Silva agrees.

“Companies that try to force customers to adapt to ‘go-to-market’ models that are not what the customer is used to and that do not provide additional value over those the customer is used to are bound to fail.”

Michael Heumann, AMCC

Heumann, on the other hand, contends that some will and some won’t. “As storage vendors, we need to develop go-to-market strategies that can work with both scenarios effectively, so that customers can choose the approach that is right for them,” he says.

Is the Focus on Doing Business or Building Storage Solutions?

Service and customer support, the reliability of the storage vendor, ease of doing business with that vendor, and product flexibility all rate very high with mid-size businesses when it comes to implementing a storage solution. “Because of their size, the focus of most mid-range firms is on doing business — not on building storage solutions,” says Heumann.

He says that the storage solution is seen as a tool to enable the company to perform better or be more competitive in its business. “This is why it is very important for storage vendors to strongly partner with their VARs to provide optimal support for these customers so that they can concentrate on running their businesses.”

Storage Drivers for the Mid-Range

Storage needs are driven by different requirements, and depending on the size of the business, those requirements may change, so it is vital that storage vendors interested in tapping into the mid-range market understand what is driving the need for storage.

Lopez says that in addition to cost savings being a major factor, ease of procurement (including returns), ease of implementation, and technical support are a few other drivers for increased storage requirements in mid-size businesses. Silva adds business continuance, compliance with federal regulations, and 24x7 operations to the list.

However, Heumann points out that often times when people use the term “cost savings,” they are generally referring to acquisition costs. While this is important, total cost of ownership is an even greater consideration, cautions Heumann.

“For instance, a storage architecture that cost $20K versus $40K would not provide a net cost savings if the $20K system required the addition of a dedicated IT resource to manage it,” he says. Similarly, storage products that require server reboots to add storage and/or reconfigure the storage fabric cause server downtime that can cost businesses significant revenue.

Overall, the most important factor to take away is that while businesses in the mid-range have storage needs every bit as important and vital as those of larger enterprises, these firms present a completely different set of challenges and opportunities for vendors. Effectively tapping the mid-range storage market will largely depend on vendors realizing this and tailoring their products and solutions to meet these unique needs.

» See All Articles by Columnist Leslie Wood

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