Huawei has appointed former Dell EMC Channel Chief Geoff Wright to lead its channel.
The seasoned channel executive updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the new appointment. His new title at Huawei is vice president channel and commercial, Huawei Technoologies.
Wright left Dell EMC at the end of August, noting he was chasing other opportunities.
Huawei represents a challenging opportunity from a channel perspective. The company has famously been effectively banned from selling 5G kit to Australian telcos.
But Huawei’s enterprise hardware and software business is still very new in Australia. CRN understands it accounts for under one per cent of local revenue but that Huawei thinks it can grow as quickly as its consumer business.
Huawei had hoped that growth would start after it won 5G work, as telcos would need lots of infrastructure to deliver services on 5G networks. Sales to telcos would have given the enterprise business some momentum, with wider enterprise sales to follow.
The company’s servers and storage could therefore have ridden along in the slipstream of 5G.
Now that scenario is doomed, Huawei needs another plan to accelerate its enterprise products.
Enter Wright, who’s done it all in the storage and server channels. And will presumably now be asked to do it all again.
Huawei’s enterprise kit is solid but a little off the pace compared to the likes of Dell, Lenovo and HPE. Its enterprise software, such as the FusionSphere virtualization and private cloud stack, has more catching up to do, especially with cloud integration.
Wright therefore has the challenge of getting Huawei’s kit to market against well-dug-in incumbents.
Huawei’s often played on price, and that worked well when helping telcos possessing limited capital to build networks. But server and storage giants have fought on price for years and know there’s more to deals than the price of tin. And on the software front, Microsoft gives away much of its virtualization stack with Windows Server, but hasn’t put a decent dent in VMware.
It’s also important to note that servers and storage must now be able to play nicely with public clouds. Huawei has work to do on that front, too.
Wright has a big job ahead of him, as Huawei needs an enterprise channel capable of taking products to market in fields beyond its usual hunting grounds.
New entrants to the enterprise infrastructure market have had mixed experiences of late. Nutanix succeeded quickly because its product was genuinely differentiated and buyers and the channel alike appreciated that.
Lenovo’s buy of IBM’s x86 servers was less successful because it tried to use a PC-centric channel. It’s since used better-equipped partners and staffers and has done rather better.
Wright will be aware of those efforts, and lived Dell’s own adventures combining Dell’s and EMC’s channel. But none of the companies have quite the reputational issues Huawei rightly or wrongly endures, making both Wright’s experience – and perhaps a dose of luck – essential if Huawei’s enterprise kit is to find partners and buyers in Australia.