Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2011 (Revised May 2011)

EMC2: Delivering Customer Centricity

by Thomas Steenburgh and Jill Avery


This case introduces the concept of customer centricity and traces its development at EMC, the world's leading data storage hardware and information management software company. EMC's customers had historically relied on EMC salespeople to guide them through the complex, consultative buying process. However, with the rise of social media, prospective customers are getting more of the information they require earlier in the purchase process online. As they do so, their physical interactions with EMC salespeople are decreasing, while their digital interactions are increasing. Given the changing business environment, BJ Jenkins, senior vice president of Global Marketing, faces significant challenges as he tries to maintain EMC's culture of customer centricity. These include 1) translating EMC's platinum service levels, designed to appeal to the world's largest companies, to small businesses and B2C customers, 2) understanding how the replacement of physical interaction with digital interaction in the consultative selling process affects EMC's business, and 3) managing a VAR sales model that distances EMC from its customers.

Keywords: Business Model; Interpersonal Communication; Customer Relationship Management; Knowledge Acquisition; Marketing Strategy; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Salesforce Management; Social and Collaborative Networks; Internet; Information Technology Industry;


Steenburgh, Thomas, and Jill Avery. "EMC2: Delivering Customer Centricity." Harvard Business School Case 511-124, April 2011. (Revised May 2011.)