Sameer Bhatia, Director of Asia Pacific Consumer Business Group and Country Manager for SAARC & India, Seagate Technology talks about the company’s channel strategies for 2020
What has been the key highlights of 2019 and how do you see 2020 to be shaping up as important year for the IT channel industry?
Over the past year, there is a surge globally in data creation and consumption – a trend that is helping us grow. In India too, we have been seeing a strong growth not only on the consumer side but also enterprise. While storage solutions catering to consumer needs – from everyday users and creative professionals to gamers comprise a larger chunk of our business here in India, we are witnessing an increase in demand from them and consequently, a shift towards enterprise. Businesses of all sizes and across sectors are beginning to capitalise the potential of data to create value, and hence, are investing in building robust data storage and management infrastructure. If we talk about video analytics, the continued adoption of 4K resolution cameras and the proliferation of IoT devices are all contributing to the exponential growth in storage needs. We are seeing huge growth in video analytics as businesses realise its power to enable smart decision making and how it can return benefits to their customers. This trend is set to grow further over the next few years.
With the advent of the fourth wave of industrial revolution within IT, our focus in the year 2020 is, helping partners drive profitability by enabling them to embrace and monetise the new opportunities around edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI). Powered by IT 4.0 – where connected homes, connected cities, AI-powered factories, autonomous vehicles, and media and entertainment content drive explosive data growth, increased AI adoption will naturally lead to growth in data volumes, with organisations across industries stepping up the frequency, flexibility and immediacy of data analysis to drive strategic decisions and actions.
With unprecedented data growth, enterprises must develop a robust data storage, management and capitalisation strategy to be successful. Importantly, organisations must also have data agility – the ability to extract the value of data fast and efficiently.
Seagate continues to develop the industry’s broadest range of products to enable enterprises to select the right solution for their unique requirements, and to meet the ever-changing dynamics of IT.
Can you point out top three technology trends which the channel community should be betting on and why?
It is obvious to enterprises and individuals alike that data is proliferating at an unprecedented pace. The 41ZB of data generated in 2019 will be dwarfed by the 175ZB created by the year 2025, according to a recent IDC study. The Internet of Things, AI, 5G, and the rise of the edge have been catalysts for the growth of not only data—but also the growth of opportunities to derive new data-driven business value.
Suffice to say that the data storage industry has been very busy. Here are the top three technology trends which the channel community should be getting on, in 2020.
Data storage expansion: Digital content is being created at the core (traditional and cloud datacenters), the edge (enterprise-hardened infrastructure like cell towers and branch offices), and the endpoints (PCs, smart phones, and IoT devices). The data captured at endpoint devices results in migration of great volumes of data to the core. As users interact on endpoints, a massive ingest of many different applications is underway. For example, simple tasks like expense tracking for business travel used to be tracked in spreadsheets. Now they’re handled with a mobile app that captures pictures of receipts; that data lives in the cloud. Global Datasphere, thus, is experiencing tremendous growth and to meet the storage demands, IDC forecasts that over 22 ZB of storage capacity must ship across all media types from 2018 to 2025, with nearly 59 per cent of that capacity supplied from the HDD industry.
Innovation is driving the wave of connectivity: As organisations move towards digitisation in their offerings, consumers are getting used to personalised real-time experiences and resetting their expectations for data delivery. IDC predicts that due to the infusion of data into our business workflows and personal streams of life, that nearly 30 per cent of the Global Datasphere will be real-time by 2025. Enterprises looking to provide superior customer experience and grow share must have data infrastructures that can meet this growth in real-time data.
Data generation has led to exponential growth in data consumption and cloud adoption is booming data centre consumption. There is growing need for computing and storage with regards to AI, Big data, analytics, IoT and ML, as never before and this further accelerates the demand for data centers. As per a study, by 2022, India’s data consumption is projected to grow at 72.6 per cent (CAGR). In the data storage industry, connectivity is driving higher bandwidth. This means we’ll keep seeing innovations in the area of sequentialising the data (this applies to both hard disk drives and flash). The benefits of sequentialising data patterns are resource efficiency improvements and saturation of all connectivity points. As a result, there’s a great deal of innovation around NVMe ecosystems.
Cloud is the new core and with that comes the question of data security: As organisations pursue cloud for data processing and management, virtual data centres are becoming the new enterprise data repository. 49 per cent of world’s stored data will reside in public cloud environments by 2025, as per IDC report. Essentially, in times of uncertainties such as global pandemic that the world is facing, data storage and management on the cloud becomes even more crucial.
With such intensified movement of data there is vulnerability, and therefore the need for greater protection. Exchange of data and usage of applications across cloud environments call for stringent policies and metrics for security adherence to manage data privacy on device. As a result, while the industry is witnessing massive cloud adoption and rapid digital transformation, there will be significant developments on secure shuttles. Devices themselves will continue to see growth in secure at-rest encryption.
Please list out the top channel directions which your company has set for its partners and where should partners invest to be aligned with these directions?
Seagate has been in a commendable position in the storage space with its latest product and innovation. In India, we command this leadership position – this would not have been possible without our distributors and channel partners. Striving to make business a win-win for our partners at all times, we see ourselves as not just a storage provider, but a business partner who can build best-in-class solutions together with our channel partners – from the first stage of projects to developing a solutions pipeline to provide consultation, establish systems and provide technical support. Working towards their business success across all the cities in India is one of the key focus areas for us at Seagate each day.
Seagate’s partners play a vital role in our business. We connect with our customers and partners in the markets through the Seagate Insider partner program. Seagate has been continuously building a robust partner base through this program, providing comprehensive training sessions and seminars as well as working on co-marketing initiatives. Seagate also continuously provides training for partners to better understand evolving opportunities in addition to regular products and technology trainings.
As a brand we believe in growing the partner ecosystem and right set of partnerships. A lot of our focus is on being close to the reseller partners, understand their needs and enable them with right set of knowledge and tools, so that they can keep pace with the latest products and offerings and serve their customers with right products. In engaging with customers, ensuring we have a good understanding of their strategy and future plans enables us to more effectively assess their needs and deliver the solutions and technology that they need to succeed in a business environment that is more competitive than ever. Our focus is to deliver the industry’s best performing drives that offer higher capacity and unparalleled reliability, while maintaining a high degree of data integrity.
Through our distributors, we offer various programs to our channel partners to achieve the above objectives, which are in line with the IT industry and channel practices in India. Some of the programs are “Seagate Regional Meets” and “Seagate Surveillance Weeks”. We also actively participate in trade shows such as IFSEC International, SecuTech, and Broadcast India to address the right audience, customers, CIO roundtables, events sponsorships, sales staff trainings and certifications for our partners.
Seagate’s SkyHawk Partner App is a great example of how we empower our partners and customers. Designed specifically for India, the SkyHawk Partner App enables partners to calculate the storage needs and investment required on the spot. It provides online warranty service booking and tracking, and provides instant connectivity to SeaCare centres. Our aim is to support our partners in maximising their results by offering the best and most optimal storage solutions and services. To date, our app has received nearly 13,000 downloads and more than 5,000 registrations.