CRN Interview: Commvault Global Partnerships Head Taraniuk On Channel Overhaul

Commvault's Owen Taraniuk is confident that Commvault's alliances with hardware heavyweights like HPE and Cisco can help keep the company and its partners in a leadership position in the face of heavy competition.

Charging Ahead

Owen Taraniuk, Commvault's global head of partnerships and business development, is counting on an overhauled channel program to help the data backup and recovery power player plant itself firmly in the minds of customers seeking next-generation, cloud-focused solutions purchased and consumed seamlessly.

Sponsored post

The task isn’t small, especially considering Commvault's status as a legacy player in a market segment that's quickly growing more demanding and where flexibility and adaptability across multiple cloud and on-premises environments are key. Commvault has drastically simplified its partner program, shifted its sales leadership teams and consolidated its product portfolio, all in an effort to become a partner-led vendor in a fiercely competitive segment.

Taraniuk is confident, though, that Commvault's huge install base, as well as its alliances with hardware heavyweights like Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Cisco Systems, can help keep the Tinton Falls, N.J.-based company and its partners in a leadership position in the face of heavy competition from the likes of Veeam and other upstart competitors in the data availability market.

What follows is an edited excerpt of Taraniuk's conversation with CRN.

Commvault is facing some fierce competition from smaller, younger companies like Veeam and others. How do the changes you're making to your channel program and product line help put distance between yourselves and aggressive competitors?

There are some extremely well-invested, well-funded and capable organizations with great products out there alongside us now. We're depending on similar messages, and different value propositions. That group of organizations is really starting to disrupt the space of legacy players. We're all headed in the same direction. What stands apart is the breadth of capability, the future road map and the quality of our offerings, which have been proven for the last 20-plus years. We have a very big install base. The other aspect is how strong we are in enterprise and the value we provide to extremely complex global environments. What we're trying to do with these changes is increase the simplicity of what we offer, differentiate ourselves on value and engagement, as well as pure product. We're gaining the ability to scale much faster. It makes a much more dynamic company that's easier to engage with. That will help us stand apart from those other players.

What kind of growth are you expecting through the channel over the next year or two?

If I look at what we've been doing over the last nine or 10 months, it's really been around the concept of making it simpler, not only in product, but also in things like appliance and hyper-scale. It's also been working to listen to those organizations about what they need us to be in order to give Commvault a far greater share of wallet. That's what we've put in place. That, in combination with HPE, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft and other companies we've set up worldwide alliances with, which all have very significant VAR ecosystems, the combination gives us far more reach. When I look at the growth trajectory, a very large percentage of that will be coming from there, one way or another.

Are solution providers who partner with both Commvault and your alliance partners like HPE and Cisco in the best position for growth?

I think so. There's definitely a number of routes to value for our partners, but when you look at the Ven diagram with the alliances we've joined, that certainly extends opportunity for partners. At the same time, we don't want to create a situation where resellers invest heavily in Commvault skills and develop business jointly with us and then go to market and find themselves absolutely swamped with other Commvault parties in the same opportunity every time. We want to make sure we provide a good investment and return situation for partners who really become expert and really provide that value to customers.

Are customers becoming more savvy today about public cloud, and how is Commvault involved in those customers' cloud decision-making process?

They're increasingly looking at ways not only to use public cloud, but to use the service layers around and below that to drive a lot more value and agility to their businesses. Where Commvault can really help is around how you categorize the information you have, how you understand what it is, how you value the ways of storing that and where it should be in a more dynamic way, in a more programmable way. With our Insight Analytics machine learning and other capabilities, we certainly can help organizations with those challenges. That's what people are finding difficult. It's OK to be able to take a chunk of your requirements off-prem, but then how do you manage that data, protect that data? How do you determine what should move between different models of infrastructure dynamically? How do you drive the best, cost, value and security from that? That's really where Commvault will play.

You mentioned that you're hiring talent from other top-tier vendors. Who have you had success pulling talent from?

It depends on the area of the business. Within our ecosystem, there are people looking at what Commvault is doing, the potential within the market and the type of changes we're making, and for a lot of people looking for a change, this is becoming a very attractive option. We're increasingly seeing top-flight talent engaging with us to see what kind of options we have inside Commvault. In our service provider area, we've got people coming from different parts of the industry. They're understanding where we're headed on this journey and what opportunity is there. These are people from well established, large players in storage, hardware, networking. They really see the potential for growth we have right now.

Do you have any plans for any significant partner recruitment?

We do. My mission right now is to make sure we provide the very best opportunity and support for our existing partners, to elevate the capability and opportunity for those partners on a global level, also to invigorate and extend our distribution reach, to continue to build upon alliances globally, and also the vast numbers of resellers they have. Beyond that, yes, I do see a huge opportunity to continue to grow without saturating our reseller base.