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Organizations should first have a data strategy in place: HDS

Radhika Nallayam | June 13, 2013
We are not a pure stand alone consulting player. It is a big piece of our go-to-market strategy, said Hicham Abdessamad, senior vice president, Global Services, Hitachi Data Systems

CW: Consulting is key part of your 'transformation services' offering. Do you think CIOs are ready to pay for consulting at this stage?

Abdessamad: When it comes to revenue, consulting is not a very big contributor for us. It's instead a choice for us. We are not a pure stand alone consulting player. But consulting is a big piece of our go-to-market strategy. For example, there is a business case behind every cloud deployment. It's not cloud just for cloud's sake.

So a consulting engagement helps us show the customer the benefits and risks, so that they can build a case for it. So consulting helps position our services in a better way. Especially, areas like cloud and big data are very services-led and consultative-led engagements VS technology-led. And, our customers see value in this approach.

Another case in point is, when an organization considers cloud for storage consumption. We offer them an economic study on how much does it cost to maintain an in-house storage environment. We then propose our managed storage offering, so that the customer has something to compare it to. And, that offering has to be 30-40 percent less than what they are doing today. So that's the business conversation and that's what services enable us to do.

CW: Do you think India is a less matured market for services, as compared to products or solutions?

Abdessamad: The mind set of Indian customers has always been, 'when I buy products, why do you want me to pay for services; it's part of the solution.' But I think that's changing as they see the value. Customers would not pay for implementation services, for instance, because there is no value. But if we can offer them services that help them save money, they will welcome that. Earlier, services used to be 5 percent of a transaction; now it's up to 40 percent. More complex the engagement, more the involvement of services. But we are not doing these large consulting engagements that lead to nothing. Our services are very closely aligned with the technologies that we provide.

CW: In a way, are you telling customers to stop buying storage hardware?

Abdessamad: It's an interesting discussion. Many companies have realized today that they are spending a lot on storage and it's out of control. Their budgets are shrinking. But at the same time, the data growth is not going to stop. So they want the existing storage infrastructure to be more efficient. We find that most companies don't really do good capacity planning. So they buy when they need or they buy in bulk and expect that their needs will grow. They know that they are under utilizing the system, but there is nothing they can do about it.

 

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