EMC drops 'tough guy' image

EMC is winning back customers through a simple change in attitude, making up for its former tough guy image that prevailed when the market was bullish.

Today the competitive landscape is much tougher and EMC addressed this shift through price cutting and appeasing customers.

Meta Group Asia Pacific research director Kevin McIsaac said a change in the economic climate has contributed to the shift in the public perception of EMC.

"In 2000 EMC was really competitive and could drive home a tough sales force because they could afford to play hardball, they had the best product by a country mile, but now the market has changed and it no longer has a dominant position," McIsaac said.

"It [EMC] had to adapt a strategy to suit its situation and did it very well. It needed a change in culture of the sales force as well as offering more mid-range products with a different emphasis on complete solutions and hardware."

No longer is EMC the leader in the disk array market and the company's CEO Joe Tucci acknowledged last week that work had to be done to become more competitive on pricing. Steps were also taken to rid the company of employees who had been 'snooty' to users.

While EMC was among the fastest-growing service vendors in 2003, with a 21 percent increase in revenue compared to 2002, there has been a significant shift.

The changing market has made what was once considered a high-dollar product now more affordable, forcing EMC to fight for what was once a given market share.

When he joined the company in 2000, said EMC Australia managing director Steve Redman, the perception was that EMC employed an aggressive sales team who worked at an arrogant company.

"Staff morale was at an all-time low; the change has been enormous with customers coming first," he said.

"The company also has a different product portfolio with a mix of software and services; we compete with companies like HD at the lower end and IBM at the high end of the market."

XSI Data Solutions Australia sales manager Glenn Gray agreed there has been a dramatic shift at EMC.

"They are listening to what we want as a partner and have gone from any sign of being arrogant or aggressive when dealing with customers," he said.

Gray said the changing nature of the industry has had as much effect on dwindling sales as any other number of market factors.

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