“We have announced several initiatives to empower partners free the cash flow”: NetApp

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NetApp has strengthened its bonding with the channel community by enhancing their confidence and helping them achieve growth even in testing times of COVID-19 pandemic. NetApp India is working closely with its partner ecosystem to enable them to drive growth and continuously focus on their customer success.

Kaushal Veluri, Director of Channels, NetApp India speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the company’s strategy in current situation amid the ongoing pandemic scenario and how it is engaging with the channel partner community.

In a Covid-19 era, what are the key priorities for NetApp today?

The COVID pandemic has pushed enterprises onto the centre stage with two challenges to solve: enhanced employee experience and business operations continuity. With the move towards remote work, the sudden deluge of data has brought a renewed focus on cloud technology.

Back in January, we had put together a company-wide crisis management team to execute our Business Continuity Plan and prepare to mitigate the COVID-19 impact. We activated our plan to enable us to continue to deliver products and services and minimize any disruptions that could impact businesses. Furthermore, at NetApp, our constant endeavour is to put measures in place to keep our employees, customers and partners safe and ensuring the workforce has support through digital collaboration tools to continue conducting business safely from their homes.

Our key priorities can be summarized as below:

  • Supporting remote workers—in building and deploying cloud-based end-user computing (EUC) and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to help improve the performance and scalability of on-premise VDI infrastructure
  • Helping customers and partners in understanding if their infrastructure is ready for the next 30 days by analyzing the capacity trends and identifying applications that might be running hot or storage systems that are overburdened
  • Ensuring that data and applications are available and performing—rationalizing data and application infrastructure for enterprises

How does the company look at ensuring business continuity for its partners communities and its customers? What are some of the special initiatives or measures that NetApp has taken to help its partners withstand this pandemic situation?

For NetApp, our partners have played a critical role in enabling customers to achieve their business goals, especially during the pandemic. We have been working closely with our partner ecosystem to enable them to drive growth and focus on customer success. One key aspect was the partner credit support, which we extended by an additional 30 days for direct purchasing partners (distributors and direct resellers).

At NetApp, we have announced several other initiatives specifically designed to empower partners free the cash flow, plan business continuity, and focus on driving business growth. We introduced a new initiative known as Marketing Concierge to help our partners with demand generation activities. This was done keeping in mind the need for acquiring new customers and expanding our marketing support. Alternatively, we support partners through back end rebates for acquiring new to NetApp customers and competitive customers through our Run-to-NetApp programs. All compliance reviews and certification expiries have also been pushed ahead respectively by three months and six months.

We have made it simpler for our partners to earn the rebates they are eligible for, by making the process claimless. This has helped them to focus on market outreach and customer acquisition without worrying about missing out on rebates.

Even though, no one wanted it to happen this way, but the fact is – the pandemic has given new meaning to digital transformation with Home being central to everything digital. What does this mean for the future of storage services and its business ecosystems? Where do go from here?

The pandemic has brought about an urgency to respond to unique IT requirements. However, the solutions and offerings must be looked at, with a long-term focus. It is essential to build infrastructure, which is agile, reliable, and scalable.

Enterprises who were sitting on the fence of their digital transformation journey, have undergone rapid transformation in the last couple of months. A latest IDC report predicts that 64% of Indian organizations will be adopting cloud computing because of ramping up their remote working capabilities. Going forward, while the effect of the pandemic is undeniable on certain sectors, the storage market will witness growth through performance in sectors such as education, insurance, banking, and healthcare.

With ‘home’ at the core of everything digital, there will be a massive adoption of technology in education, healthcare and BFSI thereby boosting sectors such as ed-tech, digital payments, telehealth, among others. This will automatically push service providers towards a hybrid cloud model to achieve scalability, and agility for their applications.

We have specifically announced Azure NetApp® Files and NetApp Cloud Volumes Service to help manage shared storage resources across cloud vendors and regions so that enterprises can overcome challenges associated with the cloud. These challenges include migrating data from the company’s premises, supporting roaming users from cloud region to cloud region, and hybrid VDI requirements.

As we move ahead, the new normal will never be the same again. How do you plan to transition from a COVID to post- COVID era?

We are in the midst of the new normal and the fundamental changes that define the new normal are secured work from anywhere, IT agility and flexibility and digitization for survival.

As we move ahead to the post COVID era, the transition will be easy to navigate with a robust partner – vendor relationship. We will continue to collaborate with our partners on different programs and initiatives. We maintain mutually beneficial relationships with our partners, helping them with rebates when they are delivering a new set of customers. We have simplified the process of rebate earning, making it simple and rewarding. It is our responsibility to reward our partners when they are bringing in a new customer or a new portfolio.

NetApp believes in investing in our partners and has skilling initiatives that empower our partners to pass on the message of NetApp being the data authority in the hybrid cloud. With today’s cutting-edge technologies like AI/ML, DevOps, & IoT, we are building a robust ecosystem with our partners, helping them understand NetApp’s role in these technologies, and enabling them to take it forward. When we talk about changes, it is essentially helping the partners evolve and work along, one step at a time.

What are some of the innovations that NetApp is bringing to the market that can hold great relevance in today’s times?

Today every business is undergoing a radical shift in priorities. This has accelerated the digital transformation agenda for all of us. We have few offerings that are aligned to the current market requirements.

We are offering free storage on Google Cloud for IT teams addressing the digital fallout of the pandemic. Technology has been our connective fiber during this time, keeping people connected, keeping businesses running, and offering hope for a rapid medical solution. Behind the scenes, overburdened IT teams are racing to maintain the performance of systems and applications — often without access to their data centers — even as that burden continues to grow. To give IT teams more flexibility with their storage infrastructure, NetApp is making 25TB of its file storage service for Google Cloud available free of charge for 90 days.

Azure NetApp Files, Microsoft’s fast-growing enterprise file storage service, is now available in South India and Central India. Azure NetApp Files enables organizations to migrate and run complex, performance-intensive and latency-sensitive applications faster in the cloud than they can on-premises. Customers use Azure NetApp Files to support mission-critical workloads including SAP, High Performance Computing (HPC), Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), and databases such as Oracle. Workloads can be migrated to Azure without refactoring and can scale quickly to support business needs while maintaining high performance and reliability.

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