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New Commvault Channel Chief John Tavares Discusses 2021 Channel Focus

John Tavares, who joined Commvault last month after 25 years in Dell and EMC channel and sales roles, promises a renewed focus on helping the company’s solution providers take better advantage of public clouds, and promises to bring Commvault’s Metallic SaaS platform to the fore.

Data protection and management software developer Commvault has hired a new channel chief who is promising to work more with hyperscaler cloud providers to improve cloud capabilities for its partners.

John Tavares, who last month joined Tinton Falls, N.J.-based Commvault as its new vice president of global channel and alliances, also gave a few teasers about version two of Commvault’s channel program to CRN.

Tavares spent the past 25 years at EMC and Dell Technologies, which in 2016 acquired EMC, and was most recently in charge of Dell’s partner-centric commercial storage business. He is taking over as Commvault channel chief from Mercer Rowe, who this month was appointed vice president and general manager of Commvault Systems Japan.

[Related: CEO Sanjay Mirchandani On Commvault Metallic And Microsoft Azure, COVID-19]

Tavares told CRN he found Commvault an interesting company, particularly after understanding the vision of the company, its CEO Sanjay Mirchandani, and its Chief Revenue Officer Riccardo Di Blasio.

“They really educated me on the new Commvault, the potential in the shifts at the company,” he said. “Spending time with them and other executives, I was blown away by the potential there is in a number of areas. I was impressed with Sanjay’s directives about simplification and communication, and I saw an opportunity via the partner organization to help with that vision.”

Commvault has been going through a transition and has not recently been as channel-friendly as it could be, said Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of Eagle Technologies, a Salina, Kan.-based solution provider and Commvault channel partner.

Commvault seems to have been focused more on the transaction side of the business, and margins have fallen as a result, Hiechel told CRN. However, he said, bringing Tavares in from Dell Technologies is a good move.

“We’re looking for new direction,” he said.

Hiechel said he hopes Tavares will help Commvault re-examine its margin and partner enablement offering, particularly for midrange partners like Eagle Technologies.

“This is a positive move for us,” he said. “I worked with Mercer [Rowe] in the past, and he listened when we made clear our concerns. It excites me to see some new blood taking over the Commvault channel.”

Tavares said he sees three key opportunities for him to help Commvault in 2021.

The first is building on the relationship the storage software company has with the top hyperscalers—Microsoft Azure, Google and Amazon Web Services—to create new go-to-market opportunities for partners, he said.

“We have a pretty broad partner ecosystems, a unique blend, which is a big strength,” he said. “And with the hyperscalers, we are working on connecting the dots for partners so that one plus one equals three. Pick a particular partner with a particular hyperscaler in a particular location. We are working on the decoder ring to bring them together. We will get the wind of public cloud momentum at our back.”

The second is the opportunity to build version two of Commvault’s partner program on the foundation of the original program built by Rowe, Tavares said.

“Mercer did an excellent job with the foundation in version one of our partner program, which simplified partners’ go-to-market and so much more,” he said. “Commvault has come a long way since then.”

When asked about what solution providers can expect from Commvault in version two of the company’s partner program, which is slated to launch in April, Tavares offered a couple of teasers for channel offerings to help businesses on their disruptive cloud journey, including evolutions in the Commvault Metallic Software-as-a-Service-based data protection offerings.

“Commvault Metallic is a big SaaS transformation,” he said. “I want to make sure our partner ecosystem goes with our journey to SaaS. We want to make the cloud blossom and energize with Metallic, and our partner organization is a big part of that.”

Tavares said that he is planning to strengthen Commvault’s MSP offerings. “We have a lot of room to grow with partners,” he said. “I think our program can be stronger and easier to execute.”

Commvault’s solution providers should also expect to see more around channel partner management, which Tavares said he believes is one of the most critical elements in a partner program.

“We have good leadership here, but we can enhance it,” he said. “It’s a focus area for me, because that’s where the rubber meets the road. We can have a great program, but it needs the right people to execute it.”

The third key opportunity for Commvault is to build tech champions in its 100,000-plus-strong vendor and channel partner community, Tavares said.

“The more they know the Commvault story, the better it is for both of us,” he said. “We will be investing in building a tech center in our partner community that really energizes our technology base and expands it. That may include more recognition of people who are passionate about Commvault’s portfolio.”

For now, however, Tavares said he is not expecting quick changes to his organization, which recently unveiled a new leader, Jesse Grindeland, who in October joined the company from VMware as its new vice president of Americas channel sales.



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