In an exclusive interaction with Faiz Askari for ChannelTimes, Shibu Paul, Country Sales Manager at Array Networks shared insightful trends and opportunities for channel partners.

With 3,500 customers worldwide including enterprises, service providers, Industry leaders including Deloitte, Gartner, Red Herring, and Frost and Sullivan have recognized Array Networks as a market and technology leader. Read the edited excerpts from the interview.

shibu paul

What are the key trends in networking and remote access in the enterprise segment of India?

With explosive growth in mobility and increased adoption of cloud computing, unified communications and collaboration services, along with a change in consumer behavior, organizations will have to change how you think about information technology at a high level and Networking in particular. Mobility has bought in anytime, anywhere & any device access to applications a reality today. Stresses are added to an organization’s network with the need to keep up with today’s digital life, which requires more flexibility and bandwidth requirements to support new content and applications from anywhere, anytime and any device.
Some of the key trends that will put strain on customer’s networks are
A. Mobility: Our modern workplace is an always-on, 24×7 workforce connected globally through the Internet. The new virtual workplace is powered by collaboration tools, mobile devices and cloud-based services. IT is challenged by our high mobility lifestyle to support every new mobile device and collaboration solution used by the remote worker, including personal cell phones, tablets, Skype etc.
B. Speed of change: Every day there are lots of new applications, innovative devices changes the way people connect and conduct.
C. Scalability: With the scale & reach of mobility and internet organizations have to think of the world as a market rather than a city or a country. A flip kart could have customer anywhere in the world.
D. Cloud: As part of the verification of applications and evolution of the cloud, applications are increasingly distributed across multiple compute and data resources. This leads to the network (or fabric) becoming an increasingly integral part of both application enablement and delivery. To support this evolution, we will continue to see pressure on the network to become more like a fabric, providing more non-blocking bandwidth, large scale, better policy enforcement (like multitenancy) and more flexibility.
All of the trends are putting a lot of strain on the network hence organizations are looking at highly scalable, secure, cloud ready devices for remote access which will act as a gateway for accessing enterprise resources from anywhere, 24X7X365 from any device. All of these should be available without compromising on performance.

Please highlight your channel structure in India? Also mention the channel footprint in the country?

Array is a 100% channel driven company in India. Along with our distributors we cover the top national SI’s, Regional SI’s and SI’s in the tier 2 and 3 cities in India. Array has a very select elite set of partners who has the skill sets and credentials to sell advanced remote access solutions, be it new sales or migration from existing technologies.

What are the new opportunities do you foresee for partners?

Migration from traditional remote access methods to much robust, secure and scalable platforms like Array AG opens up a great opportunity for partners to show their value in enterprises. Cisco’s decision to reduce investments in ACE platforms also opens up a huge opportunity for partners to pitch in new solutions like Array.

What are challenges that are faced by partners in terms of addressing the needs of enterprise market?

One of the key issues is that most of the partners get engaged with enterprises without a clarity on the decision time lines and budget. Most of the PoC’s becomes an educational experience for the customer locking resources and time for partner without any business result. Barring few partners, the availability of quality resources to demonstrate with confidence the latest offerings from new advanced products is a key challenge.

What are the key challenges that an enterprise CIO is facing today with regard to networking and remote access?
CIO’s of today are not willing to explore options from new players with better technology in fear. Hence they build a huge legacy of old systems trying to protect their investments in few large vendors. Lack of expertise and budget controls with in enterprise is another major challenge CIO’s face in a constantly changing IT space.

Security in remote access is very important. What is the level of awareness do you witness in this area among partners?
This is an area which definitely requires improvement. While there is an awareness at a superficial level in-depth knowledge of the challenges and solutions available in the market is still a lacuna for them. Most of the partners often try to push the technology they represent leaving out the role of a neutral system integrator.

Cost and scalability are two important components of business, how do you measure the impact of these two aspects on your product portfolio in the market?

We have witnessed customers scaling from 25 concurrent users to 10000 concurrent users in less than 12 months! This is reality of today’s business and Array has designed its products around these extreme customer requirements. In the ADC segment few of our customers have 90% users hitting the application few days of the month hence scalability becomes super critical. Also Array has designed some unique & innovative solutions like ABC (Array business continuity) plan where the enterprise can scale up maximum users for few days /peaks paying only as per demand. This brings in a huge cost savings not having to invest for a full term when usage is limited to few days or weeks.

How do you motivate the partners and the sales team of partners in order to stay active in the business?
Array Assured incentive program offers assured incentive of upto INR 10000 for any sales of Array irrespective of value. We have launched Array sales simplifier program to make the sale easy for our partners, club this with our assured margin program of upto 15% to the partner. Selling Array should be fun and rewarding for all stake holders.