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Nexsan UK&I head looks to re-energise channel

Nexsan is one of those companies which has a long technology pedigree, some committed channels and which plans to grow in an organised way, reinforcing its message with existing partners and finding some new ones.  It faces challenges in the storage sector – there are fewer storage specialists in the channel, taking its story out to customers may need selling and technical abilities, and there are plenty of well-funded start-ups keen to find a niche.

And the incumbents big names – Dell EMC/ HPE etc are not going to give up ground easily.  So IT Europa was keen to talk to newly-appointed Channel Sales Director for UK & Ireland at Nexsan, Mark Walker.

He is optimistic: “I’m bringing my years of experience in channels and market development at Nexsan and aim to re-energise the channel. Nexsan is an unusual company in that it is both a challenger brand yet has been around a long time – nearly 20 years.”

Nexsan is the classic engineering company, he agrees, having made innovations over the years in enterprise storage and the products are well regarded in the market. “We have 40,000 systems in 60 countries, so it is a real opportunity, especially in the UK, where many of the products are made.”

The channel it has in the UK is respectable, he says, with a number of loyal partners since day one, so it is important to develop them. That is a hard core of five to ten resellers but he knows he needs to find more in the white space, or redevelop some dormant relationships. “We have worked with most resellers but want to see more consistent booking from a wider group. In the UK we booked orders from 30 different resellers which is high than in many earlier years, but we want to do more business. We want to develop and re-energise them, and find some new ones.”

In the market, it has been very confusing for users and partners for ten years or so, with a lot of new entrants, hybrid, flash players, but a lot of consolidation among vendors means there are fewer players. So the market might have had too much choice, and that creates some dilution; only so much mind-share to go round, and there are fewer storage specialists.

“But with some of the new players consolidated into A-brands, it leaves Nexsan as a challenger vendor, and the kind of partner we like is looking for differentiation. We have always done well with those who are not working with large vendors, but want something different to offer.”

The channel and resellers community has been expert at reinventing itself and I think that Nexsan and the channel sees the future really as a integrated hybrid on premise and cloud infrastructure. “So I think most resellers are already embracing the cloud, including the public cloud.  Nexsan has the resources and the agility to help channels take a prospect and turn it into a deal. I think we are very good at supporting partners through the deal – better than the A-brands, and unlike some, we don’t try to hi-jack the deal.”

Is there a bonus from being seen as a UK-manufacturer? “It is unusual for a US company to have UK-made products, so I did wonder about this, but with no firm conclusion. The US is keen to put the stars and stripes on their local products, but I’m not sure.” It might be a way to avoid any buyer confidence issue over tariffs, and could be worth exploring, but as he says, no-one knows what is going to happen. “It is a differentiator and is worth keeping an eye on.”

But he’d rather get the message out that the product is margin rich “At the end of the day it comes down to making money – 20% plus margins and a receptive market.”