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NetApp Exec: The Challenge Of Digital Transformation Is That People Are ‘Scared’

'They’re concerned about it, but everybody says it has to happen. So when you look at it, when you look at the principles that are driving us towards this, it’s really around the simplification of IT,’ says NetApp’s Chris Lamborn.

Digital transformation requires customers to redefine their IT, NetApp executive Chris Lamborn told an audience at the 2019 Best of Breed (BoB) Conference in Philadelphia. But there’s one problem.

“The challenge is people are scared about it,” said Lamborn, who serves as the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based storage vendor’s head of worldwide partner go-to market and programs. “They’re concerned about it, but everybody says it has to happen. So when you look at it, when you look at the principles that are driving us towards this, it’s really around the simplification of IT.”

Lamborn said that simplification starts in the cloud—specifically what he calls the design pattern of the cloud —otherwise known as “that ability to not be concerned where you are when you’re there.”

“It’s around leveraging the sources of innovation to be able to make that change and about embracing in many instances the public cloud or even the private cloud, looking at things in a different way—simplifying and organizing that IT portfolio and an important one: implementing cloud principles in new and existing technologies,” he said.

Lamborn made clear that he wasn’t making a pitch for Amazon Web Services or an on-premises environment. “This is about saying when you look at digital transformation, use that principle in how you’re going to go to market. You don’t care when you look at your cellphone whether you’re on Wi-Fi in this building or whether you walk outside and you’re back on cell service, do you? You just want the same experience. So think about that as you move forward.”

Lamborn also said speed and efficiency require hybrid multi-cloud solutions—a nod to NetApp’s business model that revolves around integrating public and on-premises technologies. “Hybrid multi-cloud is the new norm,” he said. “The reality is nobody wakes up in the morning and goes to Starbucks and says, ‘I’m going to pick up a nice hot cup of hybrid multi-cloud.’ It doesn’t happen.”

For NetApp, the hybrid multi-cloud formula seems to have worked. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, which is publicly traded, now has a market value of $12.59 billion.

Dominic Grillo, president of Branchburg, N.J.-based solution provider Atrion, said there’s a lot of room for Atrion to grow its business when it comes to cloud and digital transformation. “It opened my eyes to the fact that we’ve got work to do,” he said. “There’s more that needs to be done.”

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