In an exclusive roundtable with CRN India, Harsh Vaishnav, Head of Channels, India, SAARC, Nutanix and Vasudevan Subramaniam, Managing Director, NewWave Computing outlines the tech trends that will shape up the channel business and the directions Nutanix has set for its partners.
Harsh Vaishnav, Head of Channels, India, SAARC, Nutanix:
Q. Top tech trends that your partner community should be betting for and why?
Technology has become a strategic priority for India’s businesses since the pandemic, and a majority (84%) of enterprises are shifting investments to hybrid cloud infrastructure as they view it to be the ideal IT operating model, according to Nutanix’s recent Enterprise Cloud Index report. The report further mentions that in three years – 58% of India’s enterprises envision running a hybrid-only environment, to truly benefit from evolving technologies and maintain a competitive advantage.
Moving forward, organizations will aim to reduce inefficiencies and enable rapid scalability with the help of database-as-a-service (DBaaS), which can simplify database management and improve ease of use, speed, and cost efficiencies while ensuring safety. We strongly believe that subscription-based consumption is the present and future of enterprise technology and have been empowering our partner ecosystem to align with this trend.
Furthermore, the next wave of opportunity and innovation for partners will come from how applications get developed and deployed. Both customers and partners are attracted toward platforms that can rethink -how to accomplish infrastructure as code. Automation is becoming key, with businesses looking at spending less time on operational IT and more time on adopting digital approaches to the sales process. Investing in our back-office automation and platform integration, has helped our partners save up to 60 percent on transaction time.
Our partners are looking at expanding their skill sets to focus on these new technologies. And Nutanix will ensure that they have the resources and support to drive the innovation for customers. Additionally, delivery of services like AI digitalization and using low-code and no-code DevOps approaches is gaining importance, so partners are reaching out to vendors to assist them in these areas.
Q. What are the top channel directions Nutanix has set for its partners in 2022?
The Nutanix Channel Charter strengthens our relationship with partners by focusing on deals and engagement instead of ‘transactional’ revenue targets. It establishes joint success and rejects a zero-sum game. As the Charter focuses on customer engagement instead of revenue targets, it gives partners a greater incentive to focus on building market knowledge and skills and look for ways to deliver maximum value to customers. Through the customer-first approach, Nutanix and our partners succeed together.
With the fast-paced globalization and the consumerization of the IT industry, Nutanix, along with its channel partners, is shifting towards service modules. ‘Everything-as-a-Service’ is the next step for our channel partners as consumers require this for their workflows to support hybrid multi-cloud computing and provide fluid solutions for all.
Our focus areas for channel partners in 2022 are:
1. Quality over Quantity: Deeper and wider engagements with focused partners to unlock value of our portfolio with the existing set of customers
2. Ease of Doing Business (EODB): We have been an extremely partner focused company that strives to better ourselves by working towards improving our EODB quotient.
3. Amplify Marketing engagements to support our partners to help them drive scale and higher business outcomes
Q. Which are the areas where your partners should invest to be aligned with these directions?
• Capture adjacencies: Our partners have the opportunity to go deep and go wide into our existing customers by harnessing our portfolio products building up on our AHV and AOS implementation. Technologies such as Calm, Era and Nutanix clusters are lever to pivot this transformation on to help build a hybrid cloud operating model for our customers
• New growth areas: App modernization is a clear area of focus with increased digital adoption. With our partnership with Red Hat, we believe this is an exciting space for us and our partners to unlock incremental growth. Cloud repatriations is another major area of focus. Engagement is the digital native enterprises who would look at leveraging the best of both worlds is clearly an area of traction. This also helps our partner acquire net new business and build upon newer growth areas
Q. How Nutanix has made transitions to support change in consumption behavior?
As subscription services become the norm for consumers in India, the shift in mindset is already starting to reflect in the enterprise. Over the past decade, the consumerization of IT has completely transformed the way businesses purchase technology. Employees’ desire to have the same ‘next-gen’ technology experience at work as they do in their personal lives – the fastest laptops, the latest apps and access to everything on-the-go – has driven employee-led purchasing decisions, with IT managers now also sourcing consumer technology for the workplace. Nutanix has transitioned towards subscription models such as Database as a Service (DBaaS), Software as a Service (Saas) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) among others. With consumption moving towards ‘on basis’ model, these subscription models allow our clients to make better use of our cloud services so that they can provide customers with a seamless experience at every point.
Q. What are the initiatives taken for strengthening the channel eco-system by your organization?
We have created channel programs to help partners reduce the complexity of their engagements with customers through a focus on customer-centricity. Our partner program, Elevate, was launched in 2020 to simplify participation for our entire partner ecosystem, by offering a standardized set of tools, resources, and marketing platforms. Partners are now able to map out their route to success in an intuitive and integrated way.
Additionally, to further support our service provider partners, we launched the Nutanix Elevate Service Provider Program (NESPP) which removes complexity and increases reward opportunities. NESPP helps our service provider partners boost profits and agility by eliminating the lock-in and minimum commitment constraints found in traditional contracts and programmes. We launched Partner Support Centres (PSCs) in Bangalore for our partners to remain equipped with the knowledge and tools to cater to dynamic customer needs and drive greater profitability and success for Nutanix channel communities in the country.
The objective of this PSC is to enable the channel to move more swiftly to an Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS) model, including helping customers to use the full suite of Nutanix products. Additionally, our PSC in Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore will collaborate to offer multilingual support in countries across APAC, and will combine knowledge in strategy implementation and execution, as well as channel sales, to ensure our partners get the full breadth of support that Nutanix can provide to grow their business.
Nutanix is 100 percent channel-driven in India, and our channel ecosystem is our partner in the truest sense- together, we drive enormous, positive business impact for customers.
Vasudevan Subramaniam, Managing Director, NewWave Computing:
Q. Tech developments and trends that will shape up the channel business.
We have entered the digital age where we are witnessing a huge shift in technology consumption globally and digital identity has become a reality. Application modernization is leading the trend with automation as an objective, driving the next wave and IT is becoming the primary enabler for all industries. This will rapidly improve the channel business. With the pandemic emphasizing on the need to build business resiliency, IoT too will receive a significant push.
Customers want to build a multi-cloud strategy that can move beyond the challenges of working with multiple cloud providers as silos and yet make the most of the benefits provided by the multiclouds.84 percent of Indian organizations are moving investments to hybrid cloud infrastructure as they consider this to be the ideal IT operating model, according to the recent Nutanix’s new Enterprise Cloud Index survey. By 2025, 58 percent of India’s firms intend to run a hybrid-only environment to really benefit from changing technology and provide long-term business agility.
As organizations increasingly adopt a hybrid cloud architecture, the need for both public cloud orchestration and hybrid cloud orchestration has continued to grow. Without cloud automation and orchestration, IT teams must manually deploy cloud workloads on their own which is very tedious and slow, and IT admins must perform repetitive, laborious tasks. Additionally, as Indian workplaces increasingly adopt the hybrid work-model, companies are now compelled to give its employees the choice of devices as they access applications from anyplace. With this decentralized and distributed workforce there are huge challenges for IT organizations. To address these challenges, many organizations will choose to implement cloud management, end-point management, automation, and orchestration tools.
Edge native workloads too are gaining momentum across several verticals and hence there is need for edge platforms to support these applications. Using these thin yet powerful compute, network, storage virtualized resources platform client data is processed close to the originating source at the periphery of the network thus saving bandwidth, and it has the lowest latency and is decentralized. With technologies like 5G, AI/ML and containers this is likely to gain tremendous momentum very quickly.
The advent of digitalization is not without challenges with multiple IT vulnerabilities and the cybersecurity breach threats that continue to grow. Additionally, as enterprises use old and new technologies together, the complexity of their infrastructure further complicates the process to keep them secure. Security transformation has therefore emerged as one of the key priorities compelling partners to redefine their strategies.
IT is increasingly becoming an enabler for all businesses and partners need to stress on providing the right set of solutions to them with agility and adaptability. There is a lot of consolidation happening which will define the way technology is carried to markets and partners need to emphasize on this as well. We are well prepared for the future, and we aligned ourselves with the business requirements in the market.
Q. How has the pandemic transitioned everything into a subscription-based consumption model?
The expenditure of IT continues to grow, technology becomes increasingly important to business than ever before. The disruption has not just re-emphasized the role of technology solutions, but also redefined how customers consume these solutions, with focus on subscription models. The biggest challenge that companies now face is capital-incentive acquisition costs and rising operating costs.
Hence, most customers are opting for subscription-based consumption of software as they want to get away from the hassles of ownership. Subscription models allow customers to pay for only what they use. This metered use of technology will therefore allow them to scale up their technology without having to make large capital investments, thus freeing up their capital.
Additionally, while we see a strong economic recovery, the demand remains unpredictable and uneven across industries and still not reached pre-crisis levels. All sectors will be faced with challenges of oversizing and over capacity issues. Therefore, they will look for variable cost option as against fixed cost models as they are compelled to right size their cost of operations across all functions. Subscription-based consumption models will thus emerge as an excellent option at this time.
The complexity of large projects and the requirement for multiple solutions makes Nutanix the optimal virtualization solution for a single console for managing business applications, databases, and file systems with native virtualization. Looking ahead, we expect the customer demand for subscription services will continue in the years to come.
Q. How has the pandemic changed the way technology consumption is happening?
The pandemic has revolutionized how IT is viewed within enterprises. Enterprises are now seeking-out cloud technologies to build resilience and maintain business continuity in face of any unprecedented future crises, streamline operations and innovate their businesses offerings. Digital transformation is no longer a choice for organizations but an imperative in this new business environment. Customers too, are now adopting new strategies, new practices, and new models, and experimenting with new technologies to stay competitive. This digitally enabled approach is deriving new value for enterprises and helping them achieve greater flexibility. This approach will therefore continue to be avant-garde for business, globally.
As a result, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.5 trillion in 2022, an increase of 5.1% from 2021 as CIOs accelerate IT investments to respond to disruption with flexibility and agility. Furthermore, India’s digital transformation market is estimated to hit a value of USD 2744.68 billion by 2026, propelled by various growth strategies adopted by tech players such as various growth strategies such as partnerships, agreements, and collaborations, and new product launches and product enhancements.
Nutanix solutions are simple to deploy. They have shown again and again to have a cheaper total cost of ownership, as well as being easier to run and maintain. The ability of Nutanix’ bundle solutions—whether as a service, a managed service, or the ability to bolt on other solutions as part of the whole stack—is pulling customers away from the conventional historical three-tiered design. With Nutanix’s native integrations and customer products, the multi-cloud strategy with Nutanix is a game-changer.