NetApp and HPE are making a big mistake by cutting costs and withdrawing resources in Europe, claims Dell EMC's EMEA boss Aongus Hegarty.
Hegarty (pictured) referred to HPE's decision to offload its sales, channel management, services and marketing functions in Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to distribution behemoth ALSO.
As for NetApp, the exec pointed to rumours swirling around the industry that NetApp is shuttering locations in 12 European countries - mainly across the Nordics, southern and eastern Europe.
Its EMEA channel boss, Kristian Kerr, recently told CPI that the vendor is switching its coverage in the Nordics and CEE to a distribution model, the same regions from which NetApp is rumoured to be withdrawing.
The Dell EMC boss criticised the rivals for taking a "short-term" view of the market, claiming that the cost cutting will only harm their business and channel partners in the long run.
Dell has sought to expand its lines of business and become a "one-stop shop" for customers, claims Hegarty; a message that has been amplified through new integrations between Dell EMC and VMware at this week's Dell Technologies World 2019.
"I think we're seeing a very different strategy from other technology companies. They're narrowing their focus and becoming more focused on specific customers and geographies," said Dell.
"I'll give you a classic example: NetApp closing half their offices in Europe and the Middle East and Africa. Their argument is that they'll let the channel serve their customers. Well, that's not what the channel or partners are looking for. They want to partner with the technology company that is investing in capabilities and support from a go-to-market perspective. That's what partnership is: two things coming together.
"I think it is once again a short-term, cost-focused initiative. Ours is and has been for many years now more of a medium to long-term strategy."
HPE has been embarking on a ruthless "de-layering" programme over the last few years. Reports emerged in 2017 that the vendor was looking to slash 5,000 roles from its workforce in an effort to save $1.5bn over the next few years.
The vendor also removed its EMEA management structure from the business, meaning customers and partners will be served only by single-country managing directors.
At the time, senior channel executives praised the move from HPE, claiming it would improve local support and speed up the vendor's business.
Hegarty said that exiting countries - even if business is slowing down and they're proving to be less profitable - will never be Dell EMC's approach.
"In the 120 countries in EMEA in which we operate, there are always elements or challenges or political changes taking place. We plan for them; we put in place contingencies to allow us to manage through any of those disruptions or changes," he said.
Regarding the latest delays to the UK's departure from the EU, and the looming prospect of a no-deal scenario, Hegarty said Dell EMC has "full contingency plans around different scenarios that could happen".
UK channel boss Rob Tomlin recently revealed that Dell EMC is holding enough stock through its distributors to cover up to eight weeks of interruption in the event of a hard Brexit.
According to Hegarty, other vendors are stockpiling "significantly more" kit in the UK than Dell EMC is as preparation for its pending departure from the EU.
"We've taken some prudence around inventory of product in the UK. But other technology companies have done significantly more than that. You see that in the data that was produced in Q1 - a lot of technology companies invested significantly in the number of weeks in their stock and stock levels," he said.
CPI contacted NetApp for comment about the rumours, and gave the vendor a right to reply to Hegarty's comments. We did not receive a reply at the time of publication.
Update: NetApp provided CPI with the following statement in response to Hegarty's comments.
"We are helping companies address their top IT imperatives: harnessing the power of the hybrid cloud, building next generation datacentres, and modernising storage through data management. We have made and will continue to make strategic operational changes in the normal course of business to focus execution and maximise our opportunity."
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