We want to reach out to relevant technology partners: Mark Fong, Commvault

Mark Fong

The company looks to leverage existing partnerships while offering maximum value and also bring new breed of partners in the ecosystem

Mark Fong looks at Channels and Alliances as a brand new department, and wishes to go back to basics, ensuring channels continue to be an integral part of Commvault’s DNA. He is accountable for building a strong foundation for partnership, as Commvault goes through reinvention. Despite having a new CEO on board, the company aims to focus on building the partner ecosystem by ensuring market relevance and focusing on the existing partners. For him, it is all about going back to basics.

“We have been working with partners ever since we started the company. We are not brand new to partners, but we want to now get back to the basics and set up a strong foundation for any partnership. We want to ensure that we have the right partners, right offerings and programs for partners. We want to ensure complete relevance and build a symbiotic relationship. There is no point in signing up a thousand partners and have low volumes of transactions. It is all about getting the hygiene and basic foundation right,” says Mark Fong, VP – Channels & Alliances, Commvault.

Re-strengthening relationship with existing customers
While Commvault continues to engage with new partners, it also aims to dive deep into the existing partner relationships within the company and optimise their relationship. To keep partners at the heart of its business, Commvault follows a partner-first approach by building a symbiotic relationship and keeping a pulse on the demands expected by them. “People use terms like partner-centric and partner-focused; but for us, it is all about having a partner first approach. This program focuses on stepping into the partner’s shoes and understanding their expectations from Commvault,” he adds.

Values to customers
The company looks to leverage existing partnerships, while offering maximum value and also bringing new breed of partners in the ecosystem. He further adds, “We are aiming on the core as well as the new breed of partners. Commvault ensures a focused approach instead of a wider approach to the market.”

The company has streamlined its product portfolio and launched a new price book which keeps them in true to its core. Commvault’s objective is to offer the solutions in the way customers want it and treat the problems of the consumers.

From a channels perspective, the company is offering cheaper products and higher rebates. “We have a simple approach. We don’t wish to go wide. We want to focus on going deep enough, having a focused approach towards our partners. This helps us to do justice to our partners and offer a qualitative service,” he says.

Further, Fong highlights the key differentiator is how the company leverages the existing partner ecosystem. “We don’t cherry pick. We just look at the top 10 partners or re-sellers and decide on whom to focus on, in terms of investing more time and resource. We want to ensure that we build a strong relationship and help them to get more customers through Commvault,” states Fong.

Commvault has simplified its pricing and licensing and now has four key products which focus on a defined segment and enrich the partner experience and add value to their businesses. When it comes to products, Fong doesn’t like anything radical. The company has spent time in simplifying its licensing, enhancing partner programs, and incentives. The objective is to simply tighten the existing systems and become more relevant to partners.

Strategy for 2020
Commvault aims to focus on building a deeper relationship with its distributors and resellers. Some of the big bets would be building on the alliances with Hitachi, HP, and Cisco. Existing partnerships help Commvault to offer the complete solutions to solve the customer problems where technology, storage, back-up is provided. For this, the company will offer combined services with the help of its partners, which helps them to offer a complete package for the consumer.

In the last few months, the company has been largely aiming at simplifying product offerings and licensing procedures. The idea is to have a constant approach by tightening and simplifying existing programs.

The first line of support, Partner Success Desk (PSD), set up in Bangalore is a large investment by the company. The on-demand service centre for partners around the globe provides 24-hour assistance on RFP response questions, and technical questions through every step of the sales process. The Partner Success Desk provides partners with easier and faster access to Commvault’s support and resources.

A simplified partner program helps to bring inclusion of expanded business development funds. It is available for partners to help scale their businesses and grow their new customer opportunities by promoting and selling Commvault solutions. “A completely re-packaged and simplified product set by Commvault, brings together comprehensive back-up and recovery, and data management, including storage infrastructure, service delivery orchestration and data governance. Commvault’s newly packaged product set has been simplified and consolidated,” Fong points out while discussing Commvault’s strategy.

Talking about the strategy to strengthen the reach in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets in India, Fong says, “We are focusing on the existing customers and even bringing new customers in Tier 1 markets, before we start thinking about Tier 2 markets. Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore markets have a lot of scope when in terms of potential customers. So I would want to focus on these markets first.”

While the partnerships complement the existing portfolio, Fong states that the key challenge was coping with changes happening within the company and ensuring consistency has been the key. The company has re-aligned its business with Netapp and wants to focus on Australia, India, and Singapore markets.

“Netapp is one such example, but we have a number of other partners too. Namely, Hitachi, HP, Cisco, Huawei – we have strong OEM partnerships. These companies are an easy blend to our business. They help in maximising our value offerings to our customers,” Fong adds, while discussing Commvault’s partnership with Netapp.

However, with Netapp, one of the challenges was with their own internal changes. Commvault has initiated a few changes recently which had slowed down the company. But after four months, both companies understood each other, and have decided to focus on key markets – India, Australia and Singapore – where Commvault works closely with Netapp. “We’re in the process of realigning our priorities and by March or April, we should see enough demand generation through Netapp,” he adds.

Moving beyond existing OEMs
Commvault aims to touch maximum relevant technology partners. While Cisco, HP, Huawei, Netapp continue to be key alliance partners, Commvault’s objective is also to build deeper relationships with partners like AWS, Hitachi and Microsoft. “Commvault has always believed in keeping the customers at the heart of all its business operations. The idea is to use its own expertise to help customers manage their data efficiently, and become experts at managing their own data,” says Fong. Since the offering of storage and backup goes hand-in-hand and is the easiest to sell, the company’s focus would also be on re-education of and maximising the reach to different technology providers.

Fong explains, “From a channel perspective, we’re going to be focusing on partnerships and distribution. We want to tighten our partnership with players like Netapp, Cisco, Hitachi and HP; these are our four big bets. The customers will buy complete solutions from us, which will be provided by partners like Cisco, Hitachi.”


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