Watch the revolution in action — the EMC exodus continues

That old saying about rats leaving a sinking ship might be a little bit of an exaggeration, but EMC's recent defections point to systemic changes in the industry

EMC Virtustream cloud
Credit: Thinkstock

We're seeing something of a technology industry revolution. New business models, new technology approaches and new demands from customers are all resulting in some rapidly shifting sands for traditional vendors. Different vendors have different ways of coping with these changes — some choose to bury their heads in the sand, while others choose to be proactive and embrace the change.

EMC is a good example of that latter approach. The vendor is best known for its proprietary and fairly traditional products, but it's also dabbled in innovative stuff. Innovation is, after all, a big part of the growth story of its subsidiary,  virtualization kingpin VMware. EMC also spun out, along with VMware, the Pivotal business. And it has done a lot of M&A deals to keep abreast of the changes.

One of the deals that didn't go swimmingly for the company was the purchase of Syncplicity. Syncplicity is an enterprise file-sharing and synchronization (EFSS) vendor and hence is in direct competition with companies like Box, Egnyte and Dropbox, not to mention Google, Microsoft and Amazon. For a vendor with significant storage assets like EMC, it made total sense to move further up the food chain with value-added services that leveraged its core products. Alas, perhaps under pressure from shortsighted activist investors, EMC offloaded Syncplicity to Skyview Capital a month or so ago.

As can be expected, that sale led to some real shakeups in the industry and seeing where past EMC execs have ended up speaks to the changes occurring in the industry. Jeetu Patel, previously the CEO of Syncplicity, recently moved to Box to head up strategy for the company. EMC's vice president and head of cloud strategy left the company to take on a similar role at Box competitor Egnyte. And EMC's CMO, Jonathan Martin, jumped ship to go with Pure Storage, the flash storage vendor that has just filed its S-1 to go public.

Patel is going to be heading up Box's increasingly important strategy for building a developer ecosystem on top of the Box platform. For her part, Guis is going to be working on strengthening Egnyte's presence with large enterprises.

All of this needs to be seen within the context of a big, heavy vendor, EMC, that is not only finding it hard to innovate from within, but is increasingly forced to meet the whims of its activist shareholders. The future is going to be interesting, and Patel, Guis and Martin have placed their bets wisely.

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