Careers at Seagate Technology
Seagate Technology’s mission is to develop products that enable people and businesses around the world to create, share, and preserve their most critical memories and business data.
The idea behind Seagate originated when Finis Conner approached his friend Al Shugart, an engineer with Memorex (and former IBM employee), about a product he had in mind. He believed that there was a market for hard-disk drives (HDDs) that were 5.25 inches in height. Shugart agreed, and they launched a startup in 1979 along with Tom Mitchell, Syed Iftikar, and Doug Mahon. It was originally called Shugart Technology, but that was changed out of concern about confusion with Shugart Associates, a Xerox subsidiary also founded by Al that produced floppy disks for computers.
The company planned to sell its disks to computer manufacturers, who would then incorporate them into their machines as add-on features. Its initial product was the ST-506, 5 megabytes in size and released in 1980. It was the first HDD to be the same size as Shugart’s mini-floppy drive. It became popular as the hard disk could store more data at a faster rate. Its success led to Seagate becoming an OEM supplier for IBM XT – IBM’s first PC with a hard disk. This coup helped fuel growth, and the confidence Seagate gained encouraged it to go public in 1981.
In 1982 Seagate generated $40 million, taking over half the market for small disk drives. The following year it achieved revenues of $110 million on shipments of more than 200,000 units. In 1984 the company became the largest manufacturer of 5.25-inch disks, with 75% of its shipments going to IBM. It also became known for having the least expensive drives in the sector, due to concerted efforts to obtain parts from vendors at the cheapest prices. The company is now considered the leader in electronic data storage and solutions worldwide.
Benefits at Seagate Technology
Business model of Seagate Technology
Seagate has a segmented business model, with customers who have slightly different business needs. It markets its offerings to two groups: Consumers and Enterprises.
Seagate offers two primary value propositions: cost reduction and brand/status.
The company’s lean operations have enabled it to offer less pricey products than those of its competitors. It seeks out the least expensive components from its suppliers. It also was one of the earliest companies to utilize Southeast Asian manufacturers, a tactic that enabled Japanese firms to take over the floppy disk drive category. This strategy helped Seagate beat the prices of Hitachi, Toshiba, NEC, Fujitsu, and others, facilitating its dominance of the hard-disk drive sector.
The company has built up a formidable brand as a result of its strong performance. It has achieved numerous industry “firsts”. These include introducing the first 5.25-inch hard-disk drive; being the first corporation to ship one billion HDDs; introducing the first hard disk with a spindle speed of 10,000 RPM (the Cheetah 4LP); and producing over one billion magnetic recording heads. It has also received recognition on prominent lists – for example, in 2006 Forbes named it “Company of the Year” for being the best-managed firm in the U.S.
Seagate’s main channel is retail stores, through which it acquires customers. Specific stores where its products are sold include Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, Costco, and Sam’s Club. The company also sells its products through its website and the sites of online retailers such as Amazon, Dell, and TigerDirect.com.
Seagate’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website includes a wide variety of resources for self-help purposes, including articles, product documentation, videos, and answers to common questions. That said, there is a community component in the form of a forum where advice can be received from peers.
Seagate’s business model entails designing and developing its products. It utilizes third-party contractors in Asia for manufacturing purposes.
Seagate maintains the Seagate Partner Program, through which it works with resellers, system builders, and system integrators. These entities receive training, marketing support, lead generation, and rewards. Specific program categories are as follows:
Cloud Alliance Partners – Seagate works with members to develop and produce scalable storage and server solutions for the cloud. Specific partners include AIC, CloudByte, Digital Sense, and Scality.
Kinetic Partners – Seagate works with leaders in the open storage software and hardware communities to produce and deliver Kinetic infrastructure with Kinetic HDDs. Specific partners include CloudFounder, SwiftStack, Newisys, Hyve Solutions, Rausch, and Supermicro.
Reference Architecture Partners – Seagate enables members to choose products from select software providers for scale-out storage purposes.
Seagate’s main resource is its product development team, which works continuously to bring new offerings to market in high volume. The company also places a high priority on its intellectual property. As of July 2015 it had 5,194 U.S. patents and 1,207 patents issued and 1,351 U.S. patents and 1,296 foreign patents pending.
Seagate has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant self-service and low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is product development, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of marketing and administration, also fixed costs.
Seagate has two revenue streams:
Products – The company generates revenues from sales of its disk drive products.
Services - The company generates revenues from sales of the services it offers to support its products; these include data storage services such as online backup, data protection, and data recovery.
info: Stephen earned a B.A. in Economics and Psychology and an MBA in Finance at Stanford University. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer and SVP of Corporate Development at Seagate. He also acted as a Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns.
info: David earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance, Real Estate, and Law from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He previously served as SVP, Treasurer, and Principal Accounting Officer at Seagate.
info: Regan earned a Bachelor's degree from San Francisco State University and a J.D. from Southwestern University. She previously served as in-house counsel for Tarantella. She leads Seagate's security, legal, and government relations teams.
info: Mark earned a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. He previously served as SVP of Research at Seagate. He oversees all hard disk drive R&D.
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