The fourth, IT orchestration and resource management, seems a bit of a stretch, until you remember that information availability extends beyond just storage to applications and infrastructure. “Just trying to manage storage in a vacuum from the standpoint of fault management and business process management makes no sense,” Lewis says. “With Smarts [acquired in 2005] we can introduce IT model-based management, which describes the principal behavior characteristics of the entire system. So when [access to information is disrupted] and you get thousands of error reports from applications, routers, nodes, etc., Smarts can take all that information in and say that the problem is really that your switch is broken.” nLayers (acquired in 2006) adds an understanding of the interdependencies of applications, resources, and business processes.
“Add that into the Smarts model and we can tell which applications will be impacted.” Lewis insists that EMC has no intention of getting into classic network element management category.
Indications of success
Does this four-pillared strategy make sense and is the public buying it? So far EMC is having a tough time making its strategy clear, which involves a lot of acquisitions of diverse companies and technologies and relies on its ability to integrate all these technologies with its core product line. This holds a number of risks, chief among them integrating the acquisitions themselves, a process that many a company has botched, leaving customers of the acquired companies high and dry. “Our acquisition Rule No. 1 is to do no harm,” Lewis says.
And what’s in store for RSA’s existing product line? “As EMC’s security division, RSA will be responsible for integrating security with EMC’s products but will also have an independent franchise,” says Art Coviello, former RSA CEO and present executive vice president at EMC “and will continue to sell security applications for heterogeneous environments independent of EMC’s products.” Indeed Coviello goes on to assure that RSA is continuing to build a heterogeneous key management platform that will require partnerships with companies as diverse as Oracle, Cisco, Microsoft, IBM and Hitachi. It’s unlikely that RSA will give up its SecureID gold mine. And in fact EMC has a good record of not only allowing acquisitions to remain reasonably independent, but, with access to EMC’s tremendous sales and other resources, acquired companies have generally done well. For example Documentum’s business has more than doubled since being acquired.
Keeping acquired executives on board and in positions of high responsibility is one way EMC has tried to keep its acquisitions humming (see “Leading the Charge,” left). For example, Coviello is in now in charge of EMC’s security division. Dave DeWalt, Documentum’s former president and CEO, has been an important EMC player, running its software group with Lewis and currently overseeing global sales. “They’re doing a lot to woo and make these newcomers feel at home,” Taneja says.
Another big challenge EMC must face is to organize and educate its sales force to sell the myriad products. “They’ve got north of a dozen ways to move and copy information,” says the Enterprise Strategy Group’s Babineau. “The pressure is humongous on the sales force of the acquired company,” Taneja says.
Still, the biggest hurdle -- the one IT is most concerned about -- is how the company will continue on its course of integrating such a diverse array of technologies. “InfoScape incorporates technologies from Smarts, Documentum, and Legato, but those acquisitions were two to three years ago,” Dubois says.