With Digital Transformation In Full Swing, NetApp Transforms Itself Into A Data Management Provider

NetApp wants partners to get on board as the company transforms itself into a data management provider for hybrid cloud, said Jeff McCullough, vice president of Americas partner sales for NetApp.

As digital transformation takes hold, customers want to get more out of their data, which presents a "huge opportunity" for partners, McCullough said at The Channel Company's 2018 Best Of Breed (BoB) conference in Philadelphia Tuesday.

Digital transformation is not only forcing businesses to change, but vendors also need to adapt to position their partners for success in the years to come, said McCullough.

[Related: NetApp To Launch VMware Private Cloud Reference Architecture For HCI]

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"We have transformed our own business. We have shifted our product portfolio, realigned our business units and have transformed our go-to-market and how we engage with our customer segments. We shifted from traditional network-attached storage to cloud-connected Flash and hyper-converged solutions," McCullough said. "And we are still in the midst of our transformation."

NetApp is aligning itself to where the dollars are moving, and partners can help businesses modernize their internal infrastructure and move to a more future-proofed hybrid cloud environment with technologies like Flash, McCullough said.

NetApp's evolution to a data management company speaks to the evolution taking place in the industry, said Mike Mahanay, vice president and chief marketing officer for CTL, a Portland, Ore.-based solution provider.

The company today is looking to move into managed services and is evaluating NetApp as a potential partner.

"Seeing their growth and momentum in this space is interesting to us," Mahanay said.

About 92 percent of NetApp’s business goes through the channel, according to McCullough, and it still has room to grow with partners. Commercial, for example, is an area that NetApp is investing heavily in and it's "wide open" for the channel.

"It's a $9 billion opportunity with 3 percent share, so there's really only way to go—up," McCullough said. "We see partners as an exclusive route to market in this segment with a whole team that is only focused on engaging and building the business with partners."