Murali Urs, Country Manager-India, Barracuda Networks shares his company’s strategy and vision for channel
What have been the key highlights of 2019 and how 2020 will be an important year for the IT channel industry?
In 2019, we saw further adoption of “as-a-service” offerings in infrastructure, platforms and software models across the enterprise sector. And more organisations taking the hybrid cloud approach. There were more converged products combining server, storage, networking and software into tried-and-tested offerings. As traditional business tools lacked capabilities to manage and deliver the latest technology and services, channel partners began stepping up to develop and build their own tools. Most channel partners began selling hardware, software and services; along with functioning as an MSP for selling preventative IT services on a recurring revenue basis.
With growing cyberattacks and an evolving threat landscape, buyer demand will remain strong in 2020 and the coming years – making it an important and transformative year for the channel community. However, the speed of the transformation in channel varies depending on the country and its market.
Can you tell us about the top three technology trends that channel community should be betting for and why?
Cloud – More companies are moving to the cloud and giving it immense focus. Not just in other parts of the world, but in India as well. In a recent report titled ‘Future shock: the cloud is the new network’, Barracuda Networks mentions that 57 per cent of Indian organisations’ infrastructure is running on the public cloud, and it is estimated to reach 74 per cent in the next five years. The channel community thus needs to be ready to meet customer needs – particularly when it comes to on-demand or consumption-based IT.
Cyber security – Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated by the day, and security measures taken by companies have shifted from reactive to proactive. Growing demand for cloud-based cyber security solutions is also one of the major factors fuelling the market growth. Importance needs to be placed not only on adopting new cybersecurity software tools, but also new processes and in-depth training.
IoT – Unlike some emerging technologies, Internet of Things (IoT) is being adopted rapidly – almost becoming a permanent new part of IT. Gartner, Inc. forecasts that the enterprise and automotive Internet of Things market will grow to 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020. This makes it essential for the channel community to invest in developing newer skills and processes required to support the shift.
What are the top channel directions your company has set for your partners and where should partners invest to be aligned to these directions?
The key direction we have set is to work together with our channel partners and help to close the security gap that prevails. Many of the current application security solutions are too complicated for most organisations to deploy and manage, and even when a business has a solution in place, it usually isn’t properly configured – leading to vulnerabilities. Barracuda aims to provide customers with efficient and cloud-based application security solutions that are easy to deploy and manage. We also have the Barracuda Networks Channel Partner Program, to help our partners in selling Barracuda’s solutions. It allows our channel partners to invest in training, technical and sales competence, and business development that will ultimately enable mutual revenue and margin growth. At the same time, regular webinar series and workshops are available to our partners, helping them to understand industry trends and identify market needs, furthering our partner commitment.
This year, our channel partners need to invest in helping customers understand where their vulnerabilities lie. With the ever-evolving threat landscape, we will also focus on helping to educate the market on security threats and ways to stay protected.
(As told to Sandhya Michu)