EMC looks to get Asian operations back on track

After several quarters of lackluster financial performance in Asia, EMC Corp. executives are looking to get the company’s operations back on track.

“Our challenge is execution,” said Steve Leonard, president of EMC’s Asia-Pacific operations. “We have to do a better job of execution, and execution is fixable.”

During the third quarter, EMC’s Asian revenue grew by 6.9 per cent, far slower than other regions. The company saw growth of 20.6 per cent in the U.S. and 19.4 per cent in Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the same period. EMC’s other geographical unit, which includes Canada, Mexico and South America, saw growth of 27.1 per cent.

Still, EMC’s financial performance in Asia during the third-quarter was an improvement over previous periods. The company reported revenue growth of 2.2 per cent and 1.4 per cent during the second and first quarters, respectively. This sluggish growth contrasts with performance in earlier years, when the company posted annual revenue growth in the high teens.

Leonard joined EMC in April, after running the Asia-Pacific operations of Symantec Corp., with a mandate to revive the company’s business in Asia. “We have asked some members of our team to leave the business, we’ve asked some team members to take on added responsibility, and we brought in some outside professionals from different companies,” he said.

Returning to faster growth in Asia will take time, Leonard said, noting EMC is taking a measured approach, looking to first resolve some operational issues before moving on to others. “We’re seeing some early indications that some of those things are gaining traction,” he said.

For example, EMC is rethinking its sales model and is working more closely with channel partners across the region. “In Asia-Pacific, not working closely enough with partners means you miss a lot of territory,” Leonard said. “We’ve re-engineered our partnership program, how we train, and how we reward our partner community.”

The company also wants to take advantage of its strong market position in storage to sell more software to customers, Leonard said. As part of this process, EMC wants to reinvent itself in the eyes of customers and show how string of acquisitions in recent years have changed the company from a provider of large storage arrays to a vendor that offers a range of products for storing and managing data, he said.

Another area where EMC hopes to improve is support. The company is moving to a single support contact for all of its products, a change that should make life easier for customers, Leonard said.

“We are improving day by day,” he said.

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