Brocade Chalks Out Robust Roadmap For GSI Business

Matt Taylor
Sr, Director, GSI Business Unit, Brocade
New Delhi, May 05: Brocade is now rolling out a new approach to enable its global system integration (GSI) partners drive the next wave of efficiencies and new revenue opportunities, and in turn enable the partners increase their win rates in outsourcing bids and cloud services. Some of the India-based SIs that Brocade partners with include TCS, HCL and Wipro.

As part of this commitment, Brocade is investing at executive, corporate, field and product levels to bring value to every aspect of its partner’s business.

Three years ago networking major Brocade embarked on a journey to rope in fairly large global system integrator. The company over the period has been investing heavily in maturing this new line of business as one of the fastest growing revenue stream.

Recently, the company carved out GSI as a standalone business and started making noise to strengthen the relationship with these GSI in terms of understanding and fulfilling the need of customers.

Brocade last week completed a three-city roadshow for GSI partners. The company has been bullish on investing and growing this business for tapping new opportunities in areas like New IP, SDN and Network Functions Virtualization, or NFV.

In an exclusive interaction with Channeltimes, Matt Taylor, Sr, Director, GSI Business Unit, Brocade, who was on two weeks visit to India for a meeting with Indian based GSI said, “We are talking about two things, one is Brocade is really investing in GSI partnership, as it is one of the key routes to markets, as about half of GSIes are India based. We are seeing there is huge potential for GSI as end user customers are trying to know what is new IP, SDN, network virtual functionality. They are looking for local partners to help them find the path. We see many of them are based here. Our commitment to GSI spins from increasing our headcount and staffing. We are investing in terms of capital equipment, training certifications, gear labs, getting more crisp about our messaging and marketing. Moreover, we are jointly creating new products and solutions. The second strategy is creating buzz about New IP showing used cases and address GSI customers need.”

Presently, Brocade has 14 GSI partners, of which seven are India based. He feels, with i-Gate coming into the fold of Capgemini, which is one of the global SIs for Brocade, it could reshuffle the count.

Why Brocade is making noise In GSI?

“For Brocade, GSI is an emerging business. It has recently decided to focus on that route to market. The journey has been a three years old and fun. There has been no significant revenue contribution as of now, but we are going to change that as GSI has been elevated into business unit, we have a new team and getting all the resources, marketing and technology to grow this business. We have completely redefined and repackaged the message for GSI,” informed Taylor.

While sharing some of the partners reaction, Taylor said, “During our meeting with the partners, one of them said, “it is great to see Brocade making some noise.”

When asked what took Brocade so long for GSI partnership, he explained,”In the past, we were in a situation, where we were selling a small box, as it may cost less. Moreover, we were working against a very large incumbent, with a very large market-share, that just did not resonate very well with our partners. We were winning some business, our legacy Ethernet fabric solution was wining some business as it was very commercially and technically appealing, but it was hard to overcome and entrench incumbent, so it was more a difficult message.”

“As the company is looking at technologies like SDN, NFV and moving down this with new IP, the company feels customers are much more receptive to hear what we have to say.” It is also a part of the journey to enable partners to work with them to develop solutions for different verticals need.

The company says that one of its Indian-based partners is working and developing healthcare solutions and is likely to hit the market. In the recent past, Brocade has acquired three companies Connectem, Vistapointe and Riverbed SteelApp in line to optimize these companies solutions. Its teams from the acquired companies are engaged with its SIs.

GSI To Drive SDN Business
The other area Brocade wants to leverage through GSI is SDN. One of its local GSI partners in India just completed the largest purchase of SDN solution from Brocade and they have already deployed the solution across the campus. There is another India-based partner, who is going to replace a Cisco campus hardware with its virtual router, the project will be taking place in next week. There are two examples where they are early adopter of SDN, GSI are getting ready to test and validate and absorb and then sell.

Investment Into GIS Ecosystem

Since the company has carved out GSI as a standalone GTM, it has started making investment into the capital equipment at its partners, it is running its gears in GSI labs across India. “We have been steadily investing, we are trying to get our products inside our partners lab, so that they get comfortable in testing and supporting them. The other area is training and certification to the engineers of these GSI on various solutions and technologies like BCNE, Ethernet Fabrics and Virtual Routing.

Role of GSI

Brocade has set an internal target for GSI business, and it is doing everything to achieve the target.

TCS, Wipro, HCL Technologies, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, i-Gate and Cognizant are some of its key GSI partners. In the last three years, it has commercially done business with all of them, but still the partnership engagements with these GSI are at various levels. Brocade has acquired close to 70-100 of customers through them.

“There is a thread in whole discussion around developing solutions and addressing end users need. GSI will make a big play, its a beyond hardware. It’s more related to how we get these partners work and start developing on our platforms. We have products line for all the verticals be it Government, SPs, telcos, so we are not only going after big fish,” he added.

Customers have viewed us as a SAN company, but today we are a networking and an IP company, so we are competing against a very large incumbent, so we have to find value for our partners and make sure they sell to our customers. Today, we are finding these partners are more willing to engage with us.The other area is we are constantly looking for new potential partners as the market shift, we want to align with those partners,” concluded Taylor.

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