EMC Stepping it up in ASEAN Interview with SEA President Paul Henaghan

EMC recently announced the appointment of Paul Henaghan as their President for SEA. EMC is the Storage Powerhouse in this region, so DSA wanted to understand more about Paul and his aspirations as he takes on one of the weightiest positions in the ASEAN data and storage market place. His answers show a strong insight into the region and a genuine knowledge of the differences and similarities across the South East Asian Countries. Not surprisingly the technology specific answers were a bit “on message” however Paul did meet the questions head on.  We would have liked to hear a bit more about Paul’s stance on hyperconverged, but he hit the question regarding Flash Vendors head on drawing on EMC’s success with XtremIO to show how they are embracing this market.

DSA - We can see from your background that you are a "software guy". It's interesting that EMC decided to appoint someone with your background. What are some of the reasons behind that?
Paul - While many people recognize EMC as a leading provider of IT hardware storage solutions, we are also currently holding the sixth position among the top 10 software companies in the world, with software contributing $5.6 billion out of $23.2 billion in total revenues. EMC is developing new technologies in Cloud and Big data to meet the rising scale and demand of the new IT era, especially in today’s information-driven global economy. Third platform technologies are a major business disruptor and corporations are increasingly forced to rethink how they can better engage in business to stay competitive with organizations that were born in the digital era.
My experience as a “software guy” puts me in good stead to contribute to the company and spearhead the business strategy in the region. Personally, I also firmly believe in helping organizations lead with IT innovations, and that is what EMC is doing today: redefining the IT landscape.  

DSA - ASEAN is a difficult market to cover, different business cultures, highly fragmented and a massive SMB presence, what are your thoughts about your strategy for EMC to better adapt to this challenging geo?
Paul - ASEAN is a rapidly growing market, populous and with immense potential.  While the ASEAN region is an extremely dynamic and diverse market, what stands out as a common point would be the widespread adoption of technology as a key business driver. Today, with a population of over 623 million, ASEAN is an extremely mobile region with a market penetration rate of 45.8% of unique subscribers’ and120.3% of mobile connections, and this is something that businesses today struggle with.
The coming together of AEC provides new opportunities for our businesses . With EMC being the market leader of Flash, Storage and Hyperconverge technology, we have the means, strategy, investments and architecture to help organizations store, protect and extract on/off premise to run an effective business amidst the mobile-cloud era, no matter what size they are.
EMC has a strong focus on education and I see that as an enabler as ASEAN businesses often face the dilemma of how to better manage resource as businesses look at expansion. Our IT transformation programmes services for Cloud and Big Data initiatives support existing organizations as they expand and regulate their markets across ASEAN. Take the banking industry for example, many of them are embarking on regionalization expansion in ASEAN but are struggling to keep up with the changing business landscape and this is where EMC comes in. Our solutions help businesses modernize their applications, build compliance and governance in a highly regulated market and provide them with actionable data driven insights.

DSA - The enterprise storage market is changing rapidly, in the past few years. We have seen EMC face ferocious competition from a new wave of flash vendors and hyperconverged vendors, does this worry you?
Paul - Competition is vital to our growth and innovation. These competitive challenges have in fact helped us drive a dramatically stronger product and market strategy, and our customers are realizing transformational benefits in consolidating mixed workloads like databases, analytics, business applications, VDI, DevOps, and private clouds, enabling truly agile data centers. Indeed, our XtremIO market share, analyst reviews, and customer buying patterns all show the success of this strategy, outpacing our competition:

  • Fastest growing product in EMC history: >$1B in cumulative sales in just 19 months
  • 50% of our business is already coming from repeat customers who are expanding earlier XtremIO clusters for additional workload consolidation, with >250 customers have now purchased >$1M.

The value that EMC delivers is unique and offers customers performance, convenience and choice, making it something that is not easily replicable. The key to our success is that, unlike the competition, we are leveraging flash for much more than simple performance benefits in the old storage use cases. Instead, much like VMware enabled breakthrough server workload transformation, XtremIO scale-out all-flash arrays are enabling mixed storage workload consolidation and real-time applications and copy data management self-service.  This of course has many infrastructure CAPEX and OPEX benefits for a total cost of ownership that is in fact much less expensive than traditional storage.
But it is really about enabling our customer’s business agility and supporting them as they navigate the digital universe. Technologies such as real-time analytics through SAS and Splunk and data warehouses, agile software DevOps and test/development, and new application-as-a-service models are really gaining traction in the region. EMC understands the value of hypercoverged - which address both business and IT resource challenges, provide the performance, provisioning, and scale-out attributes to meet escalating business demands and ensure resource optimization and efficiency.
We’ve really been innovating and pushing the boundaries of technology. Apart from our range of XtremIO solutions, one other example would be VSPEX Blue solution. The VSPEX BLUE Manager not only seamlessly integrates support for Web services, software catalog management, and non-disruptive automated software updates but also extends the EVO:RAIL appliance management experience. Solution like these allows our customers to achieve the agility, scalability and flexibility that they need in their everyday business.
DSA - How strong is EMC's data protection business in this region and is that going to be a major focus area for you?
Paul - It is one of the fastest growing segments of our business with DPS products contributing significantly to our overall business performance.
Customers are looking at new ways to leverage on Mobile, Apps, Big Data and Cloud to gain competitive edge, but they cannot do this without ensuring the right level of data protection for all tiers of applications, including the cloud tier. We have spent a significant amount of R&D and M&A to ensure that we help our customers do that, and we will continue to develop our capabilities around that.

DSA - How long have you lived and worked in ASEAN and what do you perceive as the business challenges specific to this region?
Paul - I have worked in the ASEAN region for 17 years now and have been living in Singapore for eight years. The dynamic and competitive business landscape and the challenges that it affords is the reason behind why I want to live and work in Singapore.  As mentioned earlier, the vast population and varying degree of technological readiness is a huge business challenge specific to the ASEAN region. This has led to the region experiencing the complete spectrum of business challenge ranging from first world market leading competitiveness that we have in Singapore to countries representing some of the fastest growing consumerism markets across the globe such as Vietnam and Indonesia.
Overriding all of this is the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community and the significant opportunity this represents, not only within the region, but the potential of a genuine global leader in terms of economic impact. In this dynamic, growth environment, the business challenges may be significant, but the opportunities are only limited by our thinking. 

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