What Sets Apart Brocade’s Partner Strategy From Others?
The rapid adoption of technologies like SMAC (Social, mobile, analytics and cloud) and software-defined data centers are driving transformation in enterprise architecture. Brocade, which reported a revenue of $2,263 million, a 2% up year-over-year, for fiscal 2015, is optimistic about the growth of its data center business.
A major share of the growth of the company is attributed to its partners, who are trained and aligned to take forward the innovation and ideas of the company. Brocade claims its partner strategy offers the differentiation that its competitors have lacked.
“Unlike our competitors, we don’t talk to the whole world because in the former case despite making investments, there is no guarantee on RoI. We don’t want to over distribute ourselves. What we are doing is looking at verticals and regions. We are handpicking partners who understand data center transformation. We are going with technology-focused partners rather than people doing millions of worth of businesses,” says Srikanth Natarajan, Director, Channels and Alliances, India and SAARC, Brocade India.
Unlike other vendors who have overcrowded the market, Brocade sticks to one partner and leads with them.
He says that the focus of Brocade is now shifted to Tier 2 segments where customers and partners are talking the data center language.
“In 18 months we will have 25 partners whom we will develop and train. We will also develop the whole community of software sellers. In 5 years from now, we should have a solid set of Brocade partners who are as fluent as us,” says Natarajan.
As enterprises are keen on finding ways to modernize their networks, they want to know how they can protect their investments and get maximum services. Today, network is like a commodity, as anyone can buy a switch anywhere.
“We are saying don’t look at switch as a switch. But as a complete offering that can drive the business for customers and make meaningful offering. New IP will require new conversation, and we are enabling our customers for that,” he says.
According to Gartner, the Indian data center infrastructure market, comprising server, storage, and networking equipment, will reach US$2.03 billion in 2015—making India the second-largest market for data center infrastructure and the second-fastest-growing market in Asia Pacific.
“Cloud is a like a journey. It calls for education and trials. Indian CIOs are in that journey and have done a decent amount of virtualization. Now what they want to know is what they can port on cloud. It is a learning for the vendor, partner and customers,” says Natarajan.
“People are not going to sign-up immediately. They want to deep dive into it and see the proof of concepts. We need to make a demonstration, a lot of information gathering and sharing. It is a collaborative effort. Vendor and customer must sit together and chart out the plan,” he says.
Today, enterprises are drawn to the software defined architecture.
Other technology trends are big data and analytics. He feels rather than new technologies, the next year will see consolidation of the existing technologies. “As the IT budgets aren’t increasing, optimization of the existing architecture will continue,” he says.
Advice to partners
“Look at what the industry is leading towards. None thought a simple box like a router would run machines. Everything is getting virtualized. Software is the way people are going to look at everything,” says Natarajan.
“We don’t need to buy a router, but buy a software and it does the same routing functionalities. It will take some time for sales people to become fluent,” he signs off.