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New Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen: ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’

Joseph F. Kovar

‘I have always sort of dreamed of having a technologist who I could partner with. I know certain products and product management and technology. But I also have a lot of experience and skills in go-to-market. I don‘t think this combination exists with anybody else in the data management space, where you’ve got an incredible technologist and a powerful go-to-market combination,’ says Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen in reference to Cohesity co-founder Mohit Aron.

As you look to the rest of 2022 and into 2023, what are some areas you are looking at in terms of where you can make a big impact, or some changes to some of the programs to really build that growth and keep the company moving forward?

I wouldn‘t call these first two changes, but they’re just amplifying. It starts with employees. We had 30,000 people at VMware, and we had 80,000 people at SAP. Over many years, I was able to meet many of them. This company has 2,100-plus employees. Over the course of the next year, I can probably meet every one of them. Today, we did a call with the vice presidents. I‘m looking forward to really getting this to be the best company to work for. This is both in terms of retaining current people, but also recruiting new people. My inbox is just blowing up from people who are like, ‘Man, I didn’t know you joined the company.’ So we‘re going to get a lot of interest. But I want to first thank their existing employees. It starts with an engaged employee for us.

Second, I will be meeting the top 100 customers, the next 500 customers. We’ll have customer events, and listening to them to understand what we were doing well and what we can improve. And we‘ll do many of those actually jointly with Mohit.

And the third is I really think is ecosystem expansion. I would say the company‘s done well. But I think I want to take it to a whole new level. The cloud partners, the service and storage vendors, the apps vendors, the SIs (system integrators), the VARs, are all ones who need to become a force multiplier. And I think there’s a lot of opportunity for many more of them to get engaged with us than have been. And many of them are people I know at the CEO level at those companies and those partners of ours.

And then finally, marketing awareness. I would just say, listen, a lot of people today don‘t know about Cohesity. One day, I hope we’re a brand as big as VMware and Amazon, but we‘re a smaller company. We need to be the best known brand in our category, and then certainly showcase why the marquee global 2000 or Fortune 1000 customers are picking us over one of the other competitors in the space, whether it’s the legacy players or the more modern players in the space.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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