Pivot3 CEO On 'Riding' The Hyper-Converged And IoT Wave To 70% Growth


'Riding Two Strong Waves'

With over three decades of IT leadership experience, Pivot3 CEO and chairman Ron Nash understands how to not only ride disruptive technology waves, but see them coming. Nash is driving rapid sales growth at Pivot3, one of the pioneers in hyper-converged infrastructure, with sights set on the Internet of Things video market.

"We're riding two strong waves right now," said Nash in an interview with CRN. "We're riding that hybrid cloud growth as people are putting more and more applications on our platform. And also in the Internet of Things and safe cities arena."

Austin, Texas-based Pivot3 recently reported second fiscal quarter revenue growth of more than 70 percent year over year, as well a nearly 75 percent increase in the average enterprise sales price. The company closed more $1 million deals in its history during the quarter, while also launching a new large-scale video surveillance solution, the V5-2000. Nash talks to CRN about Pivot3's growth, IoT strategy and cloud vision.

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You've rapidly grown revenue, partner deal registrations and average deal sizes. Why is Pivot3 winning?

We're riding two strong waves right now. In the hybrid cloud area with our platforms and data centers, we have a much broader range of capabilities that we offer somebody when they're using hyper-converged as a platform. We are higher performance. The market is starting to realize that if you've got a mission critical application, an application that needs low latency and very high performance, if you got an application that needs to scale massively – those are the reasons to go to Pivot3. We're riding that hybrid cloud growth as people are putting more and more applications on our platform.

And also in the Internet of Things and safe cities arena. What's happening there is the industry is very rapidly transforming from just recording surveillance data towards using that for business intelligence and using that data with imaging and analytics software. Business intelligence is now gained by taking that video data and turning it into something actionable to make organizations more efficient, customer responsive and secure. We happen to be at the right spot, at the right time with the capabilities to ride this wave.

Are customers pulling back on going all-in on public cloud and spending more in software-defined data centers?

It was naïve for people to think everything is going to one cloud. The world is going to be a multi-cloud world. You will deal with multiple public clouds because they will all go into different specialties and niches for competitive reasons. You'll deal with multiple private clouds and you will have to interconnect and play between those. That's where we see the action is. You're playing between clouds inside your four walls and public clouds. You're trying to run applications with an intelligence engine that says, 'Where is the best place for me to run this? Here's my security requirements. Here's my requirements for resiliency. Here's my requirements for making it easy to operate for my company.' Then having an intelligent engine that allows you to select the right place for the right application.

As a longtime IT leadership, what’s your thoughts on IoT in 2018?

IoT has been hype for a long time. I feel like I was a teenager when people were talking about IoT as the next big thing, but it is starting to happen now. The big difference is they're taking unstructured data, like video, and using that for business decisions. The applications are finally there and the technology is there to do some really important things for business. IoT collects data typically at the edge, but you want to have something centralized as far as decision making. So you need to have a centralized and edge play. Our hyper-converged systems work quite well in the environment and satisfy both of those things.

What is Pivot3's big bet in IoT?

We're seeing that video is turning out to be the killer application for IoT because if you have video, that gets you enough computing horsepower out on the edge that you can add other things to that. People doing smart cities are not only running video cameras for surveillance, but they're running video cameras for traffic management and imaging software that can count people on the sidewalk when crowds are building, for example. You're seeing a huge number of applications layered on top because somebody now has the ability to take that unstructured data, store it, then analyze it with artificial intelligence-type applications, to bring back some business insight. Whether it's security, traffic management, cloud control – I think IoT is finally starting to take off.

Why are businesses picking Pivot3 for IoT use cases and smart city deployments?

We get out on the edge. We have sufficient computing horsepower to do analytics. We're inexpensive enough to be an edge device from a cost standpoint. We're reliable and easy to operate where you put devices on the edge and they stay up. One client has got us in 800 locations and most of those locations do not have an IT person there. … There's a lot of opportunity for us in IoT.

What's your hyper-converged differentiation compared to a Nutanix or Dell EMC? Why are customers picking Pivot3 over your competitors?

It's very simple: ours works. It does what we said. We haven't over-promoted it, it's easy to keep up and it doesn't go down. It makes the job of running a data center easy for people. We give them things like security, resilience and ease of operation for mission critical workloads. It scales well and gets the job done. If I look back last year at our revenue, we had 53 percent of the company's revenue that came from previously installed customers. That's a high number for a company our age. What's happening is they like our stuff, they're putting more and more applications on our platforms and expanding them, so they're buying more. Those are the big things that differentiates us: scaling, security and the resilience.

What new channel partner initiatives are you investing in?

We're rolling out a lot more partner education. We've recently rolled out certification programs for sales professionals, solution architects and sales engineers. We're trying to give our partners a competitive advantage. If we can do a better job in educating our partners, so they can compete on our behalf and best our competitors and get business – that's the way you get a winning strategy. We're trying to get more data and information of use cases to our partners. We're giving them a playbook saying, 'Here's the things that win. Here's where Pivot3 has incredible advantages. If you find customers like this, this is what you tell them.' We've worked really hard in releasing a lot of those tools to partners because that will make them more powerful.