Kaushal Veluri has been the director- Channels and Alliances, NetApp India and SAARC since 2017. He has over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and channels across leading tech companies such as Citrix, IBM and Oracle.
In an exclusive interaction with ChannelWorld, Kaushal Veluri elaborates on NetApp's channel growth agenda for 2019.
Which sectors according to you will drive growth in 2019, and why?
India remains one of the fastest growing markets in APAC and we have witnessed consistent performance throughout 2018. Many enterprises are adopting app-first business models to provide personalized customer experience and services. This subsequent amount of data generation is leading organizations towards adopting a cloud first strategy. There is an increase in demand to process, store and analyze data at a lightning-fast speed, furthering deployment of hybrid cloud and flash solutions.
The trend is likely to continue in 2019 as well. This year, we expect growth opportunities from the banking and financial services (BFSI) sector followed by the government. We are observing a substantial need to adopt technology at a faster pace in these segments. The government sector has been primarily driven by various Smart City and Digital India initiatives. Healthcare is also expected to be a significant vertical in 2019 along with e-commerce.
How will artificial intelligence impact businesses, and what are the challenges on this journey?
“Our focus this year will be on Flash storage, HCI and cloud data services. Channel partners are critical here. We will continue to enable their growth so that they can ally with our strategies and product lines.”
There will be an increase in adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) across Asia-Pacific. However, we anticipate this journey won’t be smooth. According to a Forrester study, AI adoption is going to be a challenge, and it will hinder the ability to take advantage of the many benefits AI promises to offer.
The biggest challenge that organizations will face is gathering and integrating data from different sources. This means that enterprises must be careful while choosing the right service partners. The only way to make the best use of AI is to choose a partner who not only offers an expertise in data management but also in building precise and effective business models.
What should channels focus on in 2019, and how will you help them increase profitability?
Our focus this year will be on flash storage, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and cloud data services. Channel partners are critical here. We will continue to enable their growth so they can ally with our strategies and product lines. With the help of our partners, we plan to grow in the commercial segment; acquire new customers and expand growth in cities or markets where we are currently not present.
In terms of new avenues, 2019 will be all about artificial intelligence. Investing in AI would be a good bet for our partners. We will continue to enable our partners with the skill sets, capabilities and training required to add value and empower all our customers.
“The only way to make best use of AI is to choose a partner who not only offers an expertise in data management but also in building precise and effective business models.”
How can partners leverage the AI revolution while adding value to their customers’ business?
2019 is going to be all about artificial intelligence becoming a reality. While AI appears to be a predominant and an emerging trend, with 55 percent of APAC organizations already implementing or expanding the use of AI, we believe that our partners need to be geared up to help customers draw up a data strategy for their customers.
By data strategy we mean an end to end strategy - from edge to core to cloud. This shift is, what we believe, will bring a key difference in their ability to add value to customers and this is what we intend to enable them for.
If there is one key message you have for partners for 2019, what will it be?
The key message will be to become more data driven and look for products and strategies that can help them in their digital transformation. It is all about making sure that the customers understand where their data is and how to manage, analyze, and get insights from it. Our aim for 2019 is to continue empowering our customers to change the world with data.