NetApp to Increase Focus on SMEs
Leading storage vendor NetApp is formulating strategies with an increased focus on the Indian SMEs. In an exclusive with ITBizFocus.com, Surajit Sen, Director- Channels, Marketing & Alliances, NetApp India, shares the company’s strategies for the mid-market segment and the storage adoption trend among the burgeoning segment.
How do you see the storage adoption trend among SMEs in India?
Overall, we are seeing huge growth opportunities in several areas. The biggest trend today we see is a shift towards networked storage. Earlier, most of the SMEs in India would use DAS (disk attached storage) for their environments and networked storage was limited to enterprise datacenters only. With the advent of technologies like iSCSI & FCoE, networked storage has become an attractive option for SME customers as it offers them better utilization, performance, scalability besides giving them options like remote backup & disaster recovery.
Also, architectures are changing and so are the customer’s buying options; environments are made more virtualized and it has been made possible by the likes of VMware, Microsoft and Citrix. They have made the server virtualization possible, and this is where datacenter design is shifting. Another fast-growing change is scale–out which is the capability to grow when you need.
We see significant growth opportunities for Indian SMEs in the areas of virtualization, cloud computing and unified storage.
What are your strategies for the mid-market segment in 2012?
In 2012, NetApp plans to increase its focus in the mid size market especially in the Tier-II and Tier-III Markets. The potential of the SME sector in India is really huge as it plays a vital role for the growth of Indian economy by contributing 45% of the industrial output, 40% of exports, 42 million in employment, 1 million jobs every year and over 8000 quality products for the Indian and international markets. SMEs contribute 30 percent of NetApp’s revenue worldwide and the company has decided to work with its distributors- Redington and Avnet to increase its focus in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Goa, Kochi Lucknow, Vadodara, Vizag, Nepal and Bhutan. NetApp intends to expand its channel base in Tier-2 and Tier 3 cities and is implementing its 3-prolonged Channel Strategy- Protect, Acquire and Grow.
After launching low-cost storage solutions in the Indian market recently, do you have plans to increase your revenue from this segment?
NetApp plans to increase its revenue from the SME segment from current 21 percent of its turnover to 30 percent in 2012. Through this we aim to add about 250 mid-market customers in the next 12 months.
How do you enable the partner eco-system to tap Indian SMEs?
At NetApp we do not set rigid targets when it comes to expanding our partner base. For any new relationship to be successful it requires some serious investment and commitment from both NetApp and its partner. We therefore have to be judicious about adding new partners. We believe in establishing long term relationships with our channel- partner community. We are committed to help our partner ecosystem evolve in keeping with the changing customer needs and technology trends. We have a deep understanding of the challenges that the ecosystem faces, and equip our partners to survive the change in technology paradigms. This way we help both of us add considerable value to each other’s businesses and grow together.
We work closely with partners to help assess, design, implement, and optimize the data management infrastructure and maximize the value for their customers and empower them with the knowledge they need. Some of our training programs include GetSuccessful Program and Partner Tap Program. We have several joint competency centers across the country with our partners. These centers are instrumental in showcasing NetApp equipment and solution to highlight the competencies of the solutions built by our partners for their customers. We have several trainings platforms where we regularly train our partners.
Cloud is the buzzword for most storage vendors today. How are you addressing this?
At NetApp, our cloud computing business model is delivering IT as a Service (ITaaS). Cloud Services delivers ITaaS, which could be Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and/or Storage as a Service (StaaS). We would like to be the preferred technology partner for cloud service providers and do not want to be a direct cloud service provider. We have helped various service providers build cloud services much before Cloud became an industry buzzword. Today we have a large number of public service providers and other customers deploying Private cloud infrastructure, who have used NetApp technology – advanced storage and data management technologies to build their offerings. NetApp is committed to helping its customers achieve IT flexibility, efficiency, cost savings ,“anywhere, anytime” data access, integrated data protection and security, and instant delivery and capacity elasticity required to deliver aggressive service-level agreements for their services. Over one billion consumers receive cloud services from NetApp enable Cloud Service Providers. We let the customer take the call on which type of cloud services can fit their business.
What is your roadmap for the next 3 years in the Indian SME space?
NetApp plans to increase its revenue from the SME segment from current 21% of its turnover to 30% in 2012. We are looking to add about 250 mid-market customers over the next 12 months. This is our first short-term goal and in the long term we want to be seen as the storage vendor of choice for the SME sector ensuring that they have an efficient and flexible IT environment, thereby helping them in reaching their business goals smoothly.