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View from the Channel

With Jan Ursi, Senior Director EMEA – Channels & Alliances, Rubrik

In July, cloud data management company Rubrik appointed Jan Ursi to lead the company’s partner sales and technology alliances business in EMEA. Before joining Rubrik, Ursi helped grow UiPath’s partner business in EMEA and founded and scaled the Nutanix business in the region. Founded in 2014, Rubrik helps organisations address some of today’s toughest data management challenges, from compliance and resilience against ransomware attacks to gaining visibility of (and value from) data fragmented across data centres and clouds. Offering an alternative to legacy back-up and recovery solutions, Rubrik Cloud Data Management provides a single, policy-driven platform for backup, data recovery, governance, compliance and cloud mobility. Here, we ask Jan Ursi for his view from the channel

Technology Reseller (TR):How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?
Jan Ursi (JU): Our business is strong and gaining momentum, even in these difficult times. With the accelerated move to the cloud, companies understand how important it is to protect their data and to be able to have their data available at any time, wherever it may reside. This is blowing wind in Rubrik’s sails and makes us very confident in our ability to create strong growth and value for our customers and partners.

TR: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?
JU: Modernising data protection and recovery for the hybrid cloud environment; protecting data in the private and public cloud in one consistent and delightful way is in strong demand. We also see increased demand for Rubrik’s immutable data assurance and instant recovery solutions to help customers prevent and remediate the ever growing wave of ransomware attacks. Being able to protect cloud native workloads with a single click, without the need for any infrastructure in the cloud is also gaining traction very quickly.

TR:Where is business proving most difficult?
JU: We are fortunate that even in market segments that are suffering most from the current pandemic, it seems that data protection and data availability projects are still prioritised. For example, only a few months ago, a major European Airport decided to modernise its data protection infrastructure with Rubrik.

TR: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?
JU: Rubrik sees opportunities in these challenging times. For example, we regionalised and digitalised our customer conference Rubrik Forward. Having a digital event creates less friction, so we were able to get major local customers and alliance partners to contribute to the events. We gained many times more registrations and attendees and enabled new ways of interaction with our customers, prospects and partners. The feedback has been very positive.

TR: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?
JU: Hybrid cloud and modern technologies born in the cloud era, like Rubrik, are satisfying the demand from customers to hide complexity and reduce friction. The technologies we all grew up with are more complex to install, operate and maintain, which created demand for traditional integration services that gave channel businesses a margin-rich revenue stream. Customers are aware that tech companies like Rubrik, Amazon, Microsoft and Google have been innovating on their behalf and so are asking their channel partners no longer to be merchants of complexity but to help them shift to modern technologies. That presents new service opportunities for channel businesses, like consulting around digital transformation, automation, hybrid cloud and cloud data management. That presents new service opportunities for channel businesses, like consulting around digital transformation, automation, hybrid cloud and cloud data management.

TR: Could vendors and distributors do more to help partners overcome these challenges? And if so, what?
JU: Absolutely. Modern technology vendors have a moral and business obligation to collaborate closely with resellers to learn from each other, amplify each other’s efforts and bring maximum value to joint customers. Digital transformation brings complex and sophisticated challenges to our joint customers and brain power from all sides will be needed to innovate at pace. The days of building tech, creating a partner program and then having thousands of partners compete over a transaction are over. Vendor partner relations have to be deep and long lasting. This takes much more than a program; it takes a purpose-built plan, investment and commitment from both sides, including well selected resources, funding, knowledge transfer etc.. Tech vendors should concentrate on technology innovation and leave all the services, support and integration work to local partners that are specialists in their domain and markets. The days of a general purpose channel are over.

TR: Are customers becoming more demanding, and if so, in what ways?
JU: Customers demand to be listened to. They expect their vendors to be relentless in getting the right outcome, with high integrity and velocity. Customers increasingly expect excellence and transparency. The vendor, partner and customer should work as one team, without borders, as if they were all working for the same company on the same mission. This has not changed; it is the difference between a transaction and a true partnership.

TR: If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be and why?
JU: I am completely happy with my job. That said, it would be great if I could negotiate with the universe for each day to have more than 24 hours. Keeping a healthy work life balance needs constant attention!

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TechnologyReseller: 2021