Veritas' channels deliver holistic data management blueprint: Sharad Gupta

Veritas portolfio is creating a great value add for channel partners in India, says Sharad Gupta, India Channel Chief at Veritas.

It’s little over a year since Veritas became an independent technology company after the spin-off from Symantec. But has the information management company mananged to shine out of the security giant’s umbrella? ChannelWorld India spoke to Sharad Gupta, Channel Director, India and SAARC, Veritas on the company’s plan to increase the channel business in information management domain.

Edited Excerpts.

What are the new opportunities and probable roadblocks knocking on Veritas (as an independent company) and its channels?

The India GTM for Veritas, from sales perspective, is broadly divided into enterprise, government and channels. We introduced a commercial named patch to be driven by sales people through channels in 2016. But in mid-2016 we realized that segment through sales team* did not yield much result. The commercial named accounts was more inclined through channels than directly by sales people. We dissolved that section in mid of 2016 and moved some of them (sales team) into enterprise and channels team.

Today, we have specific named accounts in enterprise driven by sales team but aligned with channel partners to help go deep into accounts. There is sales play in government business and there are exclusive partners for that segment. The entire patch (apart from enterprise accounts) driven now by channel partners is a tremendous play for them. The second aspect is profitability. Partners drive opportunity on their own as they can attach services to the deal and also have the flexibility to offer various solutions to their customers. We have seen tremendous growth in commercial and non-commercial path (earlier driven by our sales team) with quarter-on-quarter growth.

Some channel partners feel that Veritas' strategy lacks the aggressive push as it had under Symantec. Do you want to dispel this perception?

We are helping partners through Symantec umbrella. Veritas partner force program’s structure supports partners of all types including resellers, systems integrators, technology partners. Not only it ensures profitability but there is MDF for them to reinvest into the business and create opportunities for us. We conducted Partner Connect this quarter in India across Pune, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

When Veritas came out of Symantec early last year, most partners moved into silver category because of the competencies they carried between Symantec and Veritas. In past three quarters of 2016, many partners both in Tier-1 and Tier-2 have moved into gold and platinum level of partnership at Veritas.The benefits on gold and platinum apart from rebates is PDF (Partner Development Fund). It is not only about partners moving to gold and platinum and revenues they bring to us but it is about their competencies. The journey for partner organizations from the level of silver to gold and platinum is an extremely stringent process. 

In past three quarters of 2016, many partners both in Tier-1 and Tier-2 have moved to gold and platinum level of partnership at Veritas.

We work with about 35 to 40 managed partners (closely driven by us) including technology partners who drive enterprise business. Veritas today works with +140 partners (active ones) across India on quarter-on-quarter basis built through two distributors, Ingram Micro and Redington. They carry Veritas’ entire product portfolio across information protection (entry level to backup exec), information availability and information insights. Distributors play a key role to drive that breadth of channel ecosystem. Managed partners and technology partners cater to enterprise customers’ solutions around all three pillars of information.

What are the brownie points for channels as Veritas competes with niche vendors like Commvault and Veeam and multi-tech vendors like Dell EMC, HP, IBM to name a few.

From the portfolio side, we don’t see any other vendor including ones mentioned that covers all three pillars. Most of them cover one or two of those stack. We are a software driven company across all three information-centric domains with no hardware agenda. However, our product portfolio works with industry leading hardware vendors be it on-prem, virtual or cloud.

Today’s online business scenario is not only about data protection which many vendors including us could help. It's more about the applications developed and being utilized by business. Not only about data protection but ensuring whether apps are available to complete the transaction, to ensure SLAs are met and you are able to service your customers. With the explosive growth in data, it is important for customers to get visibility in the data. Veritas provides 360 degree data management suite wherein data is protected, apps are available (not just infra) and there is data visibility for our customers.

Certain hardware vendors provide the underlying infra but can they ensure their customers that the apps are running and available as and when needed? They mostly talk on infra availability but we talk and ensure that the app is available and then we help customers to get insights into data to take the right business decision.

Are you working with channels-turned-MSPs who are transitioning customers’ solutions from on premise to cloud?

Absolutely. We are working with leading global cloud service providers. In India, we are engaged with many local service providers and helping them build the right solutions that would cater to their customers.

Last year, partners were thinking of moving their customers to cloud and whether they would have a good play once the customers move to cloud. Last couple of quarters, many partners have realized that it is not as easy to move to cloud and port the customers’ apps. While the apps are on the cloud, the customers still has tons of data. For example with data protection solutions, the partners can extract information from data ported on the cloud and protect the same. The partners have big play there as they are moving in the direction.

We have a mix of on premise and cloud deployments in India. Irrespective of the organization size and vertical type of the customer, Veritas ensures the data is protected on cloud, have control of the data and provide high availability across hybrid or public cloud.

Data for an enterprise just keeps on exploding across multiple vectors. What is the right pitch for information or data management channels to their customers?  

More than 90 percent of the data in the world today has been created in the last couple of years and it will keep on growing and sometimes get out of control. With companies embarking on the digital transformation journey, the core is undoubtedly data. For any business running for years, when the data is growing then they are adding more storage into their infrastructure. That is not solving the problem of managing the data.

One of Veritas’ survey report points out that nearly 50 percent of data that organizations have is not even touched for three years. The data is stored on an expensive storage which has cost and risk attached and also compliance which demands visibility of the data. We don’t protect data but give visibility on what’s stored in infra and take the right decision or moving non-productive or stale data to less expensive storage than investing on expensive storage racks year –on –year.

Any favorite verticals in India and is Veritas optimistic of huge SMB segment?

Veritas' backup exec cater to windows environment for SMBs. The enterprise solutions include  net back up, net back up appliance, InfoScale product on availability and information insights to name a few. The play is across customer size of SMBs to enterprises. We are present in majority of telcos not only for data protection but supporting them on critical apps for availability, FSI has been our strength. Telecom, FSI and IT/ITeS would be our top three verticals in India. And we are focusing on government in the past three quarters through a separate team as we see big opportunities with government's initiatives around Digital India, Make in India to name a few.

We have a mix of business exiting captive acts and set of new accounts. Veritas India business is well positioned to grow at 40 percent this year over last year. Veritas’ 360 degree data management suite across data protection, data availability and data insights enables channels to be a trusted partner for the information blueprint of their end-organizations. Customers looking for complete solution fall on Veritas versus the piece meal by other vendors in information management space. With two decades of experience, Veritas is best suited for customers looking at long term solution.

Do you see India Inc. is under penetrated for strategy around information management?  What would be the criteria for Veritas to select a good channel partner?

I agree to some extent. Customers have not yet woken up to the fact that how they would respond to data backup failure or availability issue at the customer end to come back to normalcy. We however see the shift as many of them are now asking us to help protect their data and keep it running - irrespective of their hardware infra. Digital transformation is driving the need for companies to stay available, capture data and leverage the repeat business with their customers based on data insights.

Moving away from Symantec we have done justice to our growth and see more potential for our channel partners. Besides channel companies with a good set of customers, we look into relationship wherein they build competence not only on selling product but the supporting customers and maintaining their information strategy. Channels need to deliver the right solution than just selling point product and walking out of the deal. We have the spectrum of the products to solve customers’ problems. The basic underling of our channel plan is supporting the channel partners and help them grow the business.