Exclusive Interview with Belinda Jurisic, Senior Director of Channels, Cloud And Service Provider, APJ, Veeam Software

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Veeam has been experiencing hyper-growth within APJ (the region is growing 10x the market average according to IDC) and Veeam Cloud Service Provider is a pillar for the company’s hyper-growth strategy in APJ and cloud is providing an enormous opportunity for the company in the region. Channel remains as Veeam’s biggest driver of growth in APJ.

Belinda Jurisic, Senior Director of Channels, Cloud and Service Provider, APJ moves into an expanded new role where she will now oversee Veeam’s Cloud Service Provider in addition to Veeam’s channel teams, and she’ll be responsible for driving cloud adoption and growth amongst Veeam’s APJ Service Providers and customers and building Go-To-Market strategies. In an exclusive interview, Singapore based Belinda shares a channel roadmap.


Sandhya:

Good afternoon to everyone. This is your host Sandhya Michu, Principal Correspondent for Express Computer and CRN India from The Indian Express group. Veeam Software one of the global leaders in backup solutions that provide intelligent data management has recently expanded the role of Belinda Jurisic as its channel director for the Asia Pacific and Japan market. Today we are very excited and delighted to be joined by Belinda herself from Singapore as she recently moved into an expanded new role, where she will oversee cloud service provider in addition to Veeam’s channel teams and is also responsible for driving cloud adoption and growth among suite APJ service providers and customers and building go to market strategies. Veeam has been experiencing hyper-growth within APJ and Veeam cloud service provider is a pillar for the company’s hyper-growth strategy in APJ, while cloud is providing an enormous of opportunity for the company in this region. Channel remains as we know remains the biggest driver of growth in this region. So Belinda, we are very happy to have you with us for this exclusive video interview for CRN India. Thank you for taking time out.

Belinda:
Thank you so much for the invite. I very much appreciate it.

Sandhya:
Belinda, your role has been expanded at Veeam. How do you look at the new role, and what are your core focus areas going forward?

Belinda:

I took on the extended role and responsibility in early January this year, it was a natural evolution for our business. Speaking about the two areas of the channel i.e. Cloud and Service Provider, there is a very natural synergy around creating an ecosystem where we understand our channel partners, where they are positioned in their business and their go-to-market strategies, and then doing the same with our service providers and understanding what services and solutions they’re delivering to their customers. We build a really good synergy by pulling together cross-correlation around businesses by introducing some of our service providers to our partners who want to become solution providers. This enables us to have cross skills in our team to be able to have that full extent of the conversation. More and more customers are looking at public cloud and cloud adoption today and we need to make sure that we don’t just have a very singular view of what that means to the customer. We need to ensure that we are looking at it from a consumption point of view and that they have an ecosystem of partners and providers who can deliver that for them, hence bringing those together. Our priorities don’t change too much, the sales motion in the service provider is different and so is working with them and looking at how we sell, position, do technical definition and solution defining while working with them on their go-to-market strategy for their customers. However, our role in a channel ecosystem is quite similar. The first role is the identification of business opportunities for our partners and our service providers. Secondly, we activate, drive and build that business with our partners and solution providers which we internally call the Driving Veeam Bias, which enables us to drive adoption at the customer level. The last role is growth, which is a result of the first two roles and give us growth within our ecosystem both for our partners and service providers. These are some of the essential roles that are exceptionally similar across the entire ecosystem.

Sandhya:
Veeam has witnessed tremendous growth in channel stories. Would you like to take us through what has been the growth momentum for Veeam so far?

Belinda:

A few things that we do exceptionally well is working to understand our partners’ business. We have dedicated channel managers that are working with our partners to understand their business, their value proposition, their priorities, what are they looking to achieve and then build out a business plan of how can we help them achieve those priorities and those growth initiatives that they’re looking to build. First and foremost are our people – we have a very strong sales-oriented channel people that not only understand channel or the channel business but also understand what customers are looking for and so we can build that joint plan with them. Within that plan, we also look at what are some of the marketing initiatives that we can be doing to market to your customer base. The channel manager will build out the business plan, identify the growth opportunities, and understand what the marketing team needs to support and execute those growth initiatives. On the service provider front, we work very closely with them and not a product sell basis but a solution sell. We have to understand what our service provider is already positioning and selling to the customers, where do they want to go, what other solutions do they want to be able to sell to their customers. A lot of work is done to define what the solution or service is that the service provider is looking to deliver to their customers. We often talk to them about what are some of the new technologies or what’s happening with customers and how they’re driving adoption of as a service. As I said earlier for the backup for office 365, we look at what is your business today? Is it growing? Do you have more customers coming to consume those services and other additional services? We can help you build that and you can add to your portfolio mix to your customers today. Veeam has a very traditional value-added reseller program and Veeam service provider program, but in the middle of that, we have our Veeam Accredited Services Professional Program as well. In India, we have partners, who we call fast for short and these partners are the ones that we’ve identified who have very strong skills in services in migration. We match those Veeam Accredited Services Professionals to partners when they need to supplement the skills that they may not have. So if you’re a partner who has defined skill sets in a certain area, and your customer asked for something else, we want to match you with a services arm that can deliver that for you. So you don’t have to necessarily invest in the first place. So we’re thinking about the full ecosystem of how can we match partner to partner. We also have White Label Service Providers who are dedicated and sell only to channel partners that don’t necessarily want to invest in building their infrastructure and services. Partners that can leverage these White Label Service Providers that will not compete with them but will help them be able to deliver as a service to their customer, if they don’t want to invest or might want to do that to build a business, to then invest. We are building out some core competencies in that space so that we can easily tag those solution providers with reseller-ready core competencies, so our partners can be matched on our portal with those service providers and reseller-ready capabilities. The core competencies will be back up as a service, DR as a service officer, Office 365 as a service. We are trying to make it easier for a partner to be able to look within the Veeam ecosystem for someone who they can lean on if they would like to utilize their service rather than investing in their own.

Sandhya:
In terms of looking at the growing customers need, how are you ensuring the opportunities which are there for the channel and go after those opportunities? So how are you looking at the channel roadmap for them?

Belinda:
A few things that we do exceptionally well is working to understand our partners’ business. We have dedicated channel managers that are working with our partners to understand their business, their value proposition, their priorities, what are they looking to achieve and then build out a business plan of how can we help them achieve those priorities and those growth initiatives that they’re looking to build. First and foremost are our people – we have a very strong sales-oriented channel people that not only understand a channel or channel business but also understand what customers are looking for and so we can build that joint plan with them. Within that plan, it’s also looking at what are some of the marketing initiatives that we can be doing to market to your customer base. The channel manager will build out the business plan, identify the growth opportunities, then what is the marketing needed to support and execute those growth initiatives. We enable our people to come out and have that value-added with our partners. Then on the service provider front, we work very closely with them and it’s not a product sell but a solution sell. We have to understand what our service provider is already positioning and selling to the customers, where do they want to go, what other solutions do they want to be able to sell to their customers. A lot of work is done to define what the solution or service is that the service provider is looking to deliver to their customers. We often talk to them about what are some of the new technologies or what’s happening with customers and how they’re driving adoption of as a service. As I said earlier for the backup for office 365, we look at what is your business today? Is it growing? Do you have more customers coming to consume those services and other additional services? We can help you build that and you can add to your portfolio mix to your customers today. Veeam has a very traditional value-added reseller program and Veeam service provider program, but in the middle of that, we have our Veeam Accredited Services Professional Program as well. In India, we have partners, who we call fast for short and these partners are the ones that we’ve identified who have very strong skills in services in migration. We match those Veeam Accredited Services Professionals to partners when they need to supplement the skills that they may not have. So if you’re a partner who has defined skill sets in a certain area, and your customer asked for something else, we want to match you with a services arm that can deliver that for you. So you don’t have to necessarily invest in the first place. So we’re thinking about the full ecosystem of how can we match partner to partner. We also have White Label Service Providers who are dedicated and sell only to channel partners that don’t necessarily want to invest in building their infrastructure and services. Partners that can leverage these White Label Service Providers that will not compete with them but will help them be able to deliver as a service to their customer, if they don’t want to invest or might want to do that to build a business, to then invest. We are building out some core competencies in that space so that we can easily tag those solution providers with reseller-ready core competencies, so our partners can be matched on our portal with those service providers and reseller-ready capabilities. The core competencies will be back up as a service, DR as a service officer, Office 365 as a service. We are trying to make it easier for a partner to be able to look within the Veeam ecosystem for someone who they can lean on if they would like to utilize their service rather than investing in their own.

Sandhya:
Is there any global or uniform program for the channel or are you likely to bring some changes into the existing program?

Belinda:

The pace that we try to drive through our programs is that it’s consistent, predictable, and profitable. We aim to bring in a program that is not too complex and protects our partners within that program. To better support partners, increase partner engagement as well as encourage focused products and solutions adoption, Veeam offers a variety of network programs that allows ease of access and cater to all our partner needs which includes 1] Veeam Technology Alliance Program which is designed to drive higher market share and profitability for our alliance partners through joint development efforts and strategic activities that increase industry awareness and sales. 2] Veeam ProPartner Network which allows our global ecosystem of partners to work directly and indirectly with one another and is a means of allowing them to stay connected with our global community and have access to customized programs, tools, and resources. And 3] Veeam Accredited Service Partner (VASP) which enables partners to differentiate their offerings and achieve value realization to drive customer success. The changes that we are working to bring together are slowly recognizing if you’re a channel partner and a service provider, and how do we treat you as one and not two separate programs. We are to bring those together because if we have got a partner who’s doing both, I want to recognize the revenue that they’re bringing in from both of those areas, and treat them as platinum, gold, and silver-based on the complete business they’re doing with them and not just what they’re doing is two separate programs. It is a little more manual because our growth is talking to value-added resellers and introducing service provided to them and talking to them about them becoming a service provider. We are looking at making sure there’s value in being a Veeam partner. We have Platinum, Gold, and Silver as everyone else does but what are some of those other specializations or core competencies that also differentiate a partner. The main driver for us is how do you keep it simple and not bring any complexity to the program so that it’s even more difficult for a partner to work with this. We want to keep it simple, but still, be able to identify what are the skill sets that we have got with that partner and what market are they playing in.

Sandhya:
What are your plans for the Indian channel partner? There is a global partner program, but each region would always want some specific program. So any plans to be rolled out this year for Indian channel partners?

Belinda:

We do have a global channel program, however, we understand there has to be a local element to that. Amarish Karnik, Channel Director, India, and SAARC in his role can put forward specific areas that he wants to focus on, that would deliver business just for India and relevant just to the India partners. He wanted to be able to reward partners that are working with us to identify a new business or are looking at a certain segment. Hence, Veeam introduced the Partner Perks Program, which is our reward system in India. What we look for is – what do our partners need and do we have something that we can roll out to them that we’ve already tried and tested model. Amarish has a lot of autonomy to communicate what he thinks is needed for our business. In India, we have seen phenomenal growth, and we’ve got a really strong team in India working with our partners. To strengthen our commitment to our channel community furthermore, Veeam recently appointed Dino Soepono as Senior Director for APJ Alliances who will be reporting to Shiva Pillay, Senior Vice President for the Asia Pacific and Japan. Dino will be responsible for managing the company’s Alliances Partner Program, strategy, and execution across the Asia Pacific and Japan.

Sandhya:
What is your expectation from the channel and where should partners look at the opportunities and how they should evolve themselves. So any direction for your channel?

Belinda:

We try to remain very external in our views so that we can see what’s happening in the market, and can be an advisor to our partners because they also want to be ahead of where their customers might be moving. We will be soon releasing our Data Protection Report which we will be sharing with our partners for them to understand where customers are moving. We want to make sure that they understand the needs of the customer and the trends that we’re seeing with customers around data management. To give an example, in Data Protection Report 2020, a couple of things that were identified were around how customers were staying on legacy systems, because they lacked time skills, and money to be able to move away from legacy systems that may not be delivering what they needed it to deliver today. Hence, Veeam introduced a program called Accelerator Veeam, which was a program where with the help of our partners, we identified a customer who has a legacy syste, and they’re experiencing issues, however, are hesitant to move because of money, time and skills. We reach out to them with a plan around how we can help with the Accelerator Veeam Program by matching those Veeam accredited service professionals, with a partner, to be able to do that migration to Veeam and we built in a subsidy for the services delivery of that migration. So identifying what are the things that are stopping a customer in their cloud journey and their digital transformation journey, and how can Veeam give you skills, resources, tools, whatever it is that you need to be able to address those.

Sandhya:
Any last message for this channel? What do you think the role of the channel going to be in the next one to two years because pandemic has taught us various lessons? So how you see the changing role of the channel. Do you think you would look at Channel more from a partnership point of view or you see that the role of the channel going to be more aggressive going forward?

Belinda:

One thing that is on top of mind at the moment is the role of the channel in the move to the public cloud. From AWS, Azure, and Google, there have been lots of announcements around some of the larger channel partners who are signing agreements with these public cloud providers. What I would like to be able to articulate to partners is what role they can play in the journey to the public cloud for their customers, so the customers absolutely will want to be putting some of their workloads in the public cloud or utilizing the public cloud, in some way, shape, or form. Hence, partners need to know what their public cloud strategy is. What’s their play? What’s the value they can add to that because the channel plays a huge role in this regard? We are constantly reading about what’s happening, what are some of the trends, what would be the advantage of AWS over Azure, and where are we seeing it land differently. We have a backup to AWS or backup to Azure and we work with Google as well. So there are so many different ways that we can work with a partner to understand what role they can play when a customer wants to have a journey to the public cloud. Even if it is migration, the customers need an easy way to migrate on and off the public cloud. Today they may decide they’re going to go AWS and then tomorrow, they might decide they’re going to go Azure. You just want to be the organization that is working with your customer to ensure that they can do that, future-proofing of what they may want to do. There’s a lot of customers out there who make choices about which cloud to put their specific workloads on, so how can you as a channel partner have the skill sets to be able to ensure that you can manage across multiple workloads. As a service provider, you may have your solution today on your infrastructure and have a customer who would want you to help them with their public cloud strategy and what they want to be doing in the public cloud and you can be delivering services out of the public cloud. My advice to our channel team is to ask the question. Are you asking the question of your partner? What is your public cloud strategy and what are your customers doing? Are you ready for what they want to be able to do? Do you have the skills do you know what you need to be positioning to them? So just really kind of thinking about those things are very top of mind for me.

Sandhya:
I would like to know from you, how does it feel to be the woman in the channel, and how you see the challenging part? Would you like to say a few lines since we are very close to International Women’s Day? Any short comment on that?

Belinda:

I’m a strong supporter of women in IT. It’s a passion for me and I mentor both men and women, for the simple case of trying to bring perspective of mentoring a man is quite different from mentoring women and it challenges me a little bit too. When you’re mentoring a man, you get the ability to work with them on how they can also better support women in their personal and professional life as well. So it’s a really important space for me. I’m passionate about celebrating diversity and would say, we’re like 40% women workforce, so we have a very strong percentage of women in Veeam and in particular, in our India team. We have a person in the India team called Nisha, who runs so many activities and events speakers for her team and thankfully, she invites me and other speakers in to talk about the strength of women in defining their space in business and how you do that balance in your professional and your personal life. So, I’m very passionate about it and we would celebrate International Women’s Day at Veeam.

 


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