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WDC: The channel needs to view us as a technology company

The storage player has expanded its portfolio over recent years and has more infrastructure products to sell via partners

Western Digital Corporation is encouraging the channel to view it as more than just a portable storage player and embrace its enterprise product range.

The firm has grown its portfolio over the past few years thanks to the acquisitions of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST) and SanDisk giving it a chance to compete in the smart phone storage space at one end and the NAS and surveillance products for enterprise at the other.

Nigel Edwards, vice president EMEA sales at Western Digital, said that the key message it had for the channel was to view the firm as a technology company.

That had meant that it had been working with distribution partners, like Tech Data and Ingram Micro, to make sure that the products were not confined to the components side but also sold as an infrastructure proposition.

"We have been going through an internal transformation in the last six years. We have invested and done all this with our channel partners because all this is sold through our partners," he said.

"We have been working with the channel to educate them very aggressively over the last 12 to 18 months," he added that discussions with distribution had been a part of that process.

"Distribution has components and systems enterprise treated separately but our job has been to bring those teams together to understand our portfolio," he said.

The vendor has its MyWD channel programme, which features the support of a University with training, and Edwards said that the plans for next year included keeping up the investment in the channel.

The other development for the channel is on the branding front with WD choosing to label enterprise products UltraStar rather than using the gold colour to denote the intended market.

"The Ultrastar brand [which had been promoted by HGST] is still strong in the enterprise space and has a very high reputation in that market," said Edwards.

Colours will continue to be used in other parts of the business, with purple for surveillance tech and black in the gaming market as a couple of examples.

He added that WD remained an innovator and another reason the channel should back the firm was because it continued to develop technology that would have an impact on the market, like the helium tech that it came up with.

"WD is a tech company at heart and we will continue to lead and innovate," he said.

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