Eyeing Big opportunities

Ron Nash, chairman and CEO at Pivot3 explains how the company is making inroads in the HCI space and working with channel partners and end user customers to harness opportunities in the region.

Tags: Pivot3 (www.pivot3.com)
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Eyeing Big opportunities Nash says Pivot3 is a more prudently run and financially conservative company.
By  Manda Banda Published  August 9, 2018

How is Pivot3 making that transition to offering full-fledged hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions in the region?

Ron Nash: In the Middle East region, the transition to HCI will manifest itself as our products are accepted by more people and organisations. That said, most of the historical set of products that we had, were deployed in surveillance and security use cases. In addition to those products and use cases, we have added two important innovations that came out of our acquisition we did two years ago. First was the NVMe flash datapath – In the past, data used to come in from ethernet and pass through a traditional storage controller before writing out to the media, but now with NVMe the data comes through that path like memory resulting in a 45 times faster data path. That makes a huge difference in use cases like databases where you need a low latency. The second thing that is driving our new transition, if you go back and look a couple of years ago, people bought hyper converged for one use case. It was either for a virtual desktop systems or video surveillance systems or they were buying a backup and recovery system. Then once they saw it was stable, easy to manage, more economical and very reliable, they started adding other applications in the data centre. What’s happened now in the last few years is that a third of our sales are for multiple applications right from the start, so that’s a big change.

Which vertical markets is Pivot3 targeting in the Middle East market for growth?

RN: We are usually targeting verticals where they have large organisations. So, with surveillance applications for example, an organisation would have thousands or tens of thousands of cameras or data centre applications. We are targeting those organisations that have high performance needs because they have high traffic volume in data centres. These include some governmental or quasi governmental entities in transportation systems, safe cities programmes and businesses in the retail segment with lots of small sites but need to centrally process lots of data.

Pivot3 drives its business 100% through channel partners. How are you working with them to develop the business in the Middle East?

RN: Four or five years ago, we were slowly trying to convince channel partners to work with us. We went through that preliminary partner phase and quickly into the scenario where partners were working with us, but we were doing a lot of work for them. What’s happening now is that we are going into a phase where our partners are very smart as they are experienced with our products and the way we do business. They are used to selling with us and they know how to take our product to market and can get creative in how they take our products to customers. Now, we only have to get involved with our partners when they have unusual demands or for a particular use case from a customer. Most of the channel partners will do a majority of the work themselves and that’s an extension of our business. It’s wonderful for us in the Middle East and I believe partners are the way to go.

What are your channel partners telling Pivot3 needs to do more in the Middle East market?

RN: The main thing that partners have been pushing us for is that we have to advertise more. They keep saying that there are other companies in the HCI space that are advertising far more than we are, but they are using our products because they are much better than the competition. When they ask, “Why aren’t you advertising on billboards or in the media?” Our answer is always that we are building the business for the long term. In the technology industry, there have always been companies who come in raise a ton of money and spend a lot of that money so that the revenue goes up. At the same time, these organisations are losing a lot. Sometimes such companies don’t even last that long in the business. So, we are running our business much more prudently financially than that and we want to continue growing. We are growing between 50 and 100% every year but if Pivot3 grew 200% every year, we would lose more money. We are just a more prudently run and more financially conservatively company.

In which areas is Pivot3 excelling with its channel partners in the Middle East market?

RN: We are happy that in this region, channel partners and their end user customers know us as the high performing brand in surveillance and data centre. Last year, from our revenue for 2017, 53% of that came out of the installed base of our customers. That’s an incredibly high percentage for a company our age. If you are an old company and have worldwide presence for decades like SAP or Oracle, they can have that. Yet 53% of the revenue for Pivot3 comes from our existing customers and that simply validates us that customers love our products and solutions, and are re-buying more of our offerings. This is very important for partners too because you want to bring something into an organisation that they will like and will continue to buy more from you. I just think there is something positive if 53% of our revenue comes from the installed customer base for a young breakthrough technology company such as ourselves. Our revenue growth can also be attributed to selling to larger customers, customers running several applications instead of one app, buyers expanding their deployments. Our early video surveillance customers are now buying Acuity HCI appliances, and Acuity customers adding Pivot3 video surveillance products. The larger and multi-app deployments are partly a result of Acuity’s early use of NVMe inside HCI appliances as well as its quality of service.

Why should partners be more enthusiastic to work with Pivot3 in 2018 and beyond?

RN: As a channel partner, one of the things you have to do if you are building your business is that it should be for the long term and to have a set of customers that are going to be loyal to you. You have to be very protective of those customers because you have to give them things that work but you also have to give them new enough technology that makes breakthroughs. In addition, you have to give them an honest evaluation of all the new technologies out there, the ones that are going to be important for the long term and which companies are going to be the winners for the long term. If you can do that as a channel partner, you are going to keep those customers forever. And one of the things we think is vital for our channel to grasp is this wave of software-defined and hyper-converged, which analysts have talked about being 60% of all IT in the next six years. This is huge but then the challenge for partners is they have to pick the companies that are going to be here for the long term and have the best technology to take to customers. We are going to be here for the long term and we structure our growth and plan our strategy accordingly so we can continue to bring technology breakthroughs to partners and their end user customers. We keep reminding our partners to be very careful and protective of their customers because their customer is our customer.

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