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EMC takes a stab at storage consulting services

EMC is expanding its professional services group to offer platform-independent consulting.

Hoping to tap a burgeoning market for storage services, EMC is expanding its professional services group to offer platform-independent consulting. Working with consulting luminary Accenture, EMC has formed the Information Solutions Consulting division, or ISC, which will consist of 200 consultants - 100 from each company. Accenture will lend its methodology, consulting know-how and relationships to the organization, but all revenue will flow through EMC.

Initially, ISC will have four primary offerings: storage information strategy, information storage consolidation, storage management optimization and business continuity planning.

EMC's hope for ISC is that it will "open our market to a much broader market, a much more heterogeneous world," says Joseph Walton, senior vice president of EMC Global Services. He backs up that statement with the promise that ISC "would recommend non-EMC technology as needed."

But some observers "fear that customers will remain suspect of EMC's intentions," says IDC director Doug Chandler.

The fact of the matter is, "most customers are not going to trust a vendor to come in and do a strategy," says Mark Shirman, president and CEO of storage consulting firm GlassHouse Technologies in Framingham, MA. "You just can't be platform-agnostic if you sell hardware."

However, some analysts think the Fortune 500 companies targeted by ISC don't care about neutrality all that much. These customers are more interested in the breadth of services that EMC and Accenture can provide, says Tony Prigmore, senior analyst at the Enterprise Storage Group. "[Smaller consultants] work very well for certain types of environments, but they can't manage a multinational Global 100 company-wide technology assessment," says Prigmore. "It all comes down to scale."

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