Managing and storing data correctly is more important than ever as enterprises are expanding exponentially. Intelligent Tech Channels caught up with Matt Medeiros, CEO and Chairman of StorageCraft, who shares his thoughts on the challenges around data storage and how the company works with its channel partners to remain successful.
StorageCraft’s objective focuses on intelligent data management – protecting customers’ data and allowing that data to be recovered and recalled at any point in time. What we’ve been focusing on in the last three years is morphing the company into what I believe is the current business model that our customers appreciate, which is scaled-out intelligent data management.
When it comes to primary and secondary data, our customers are experiencing a complete blurring between the two. They don’t care about the primary or backup data, what they really want is access to all of it, anywhere. To meet these real-world requirements, we offer scale-out storage, which enables you to buy storage as and when it’s required, rather than having to buy large platforms of it, allowing customers to simply add their storage solution in a plug-and-play environment.
That’s ultimately what the world is expecting now from storage providers and we’ve got some critical and electrical property behind that. I’m pleased to say that our products called OneXafe and ShadowXafe are the client-based solutions that we sell in that market and are doing well. In the area of backup recovery or Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, we offer a product called ShadowProtect. We already protect nearly 2 million servers with this product. Every day we’re protecting the changed data associated with those servers, with our customers and with our partners. The interesting thing that we’ve also added to our product solution is a cloud offering: StorageCraft Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) offers everything from file and folder recovery and machine virtualisation to instant failover of an entire site and network with a different level of SLA than you’ll find elsewhere.
Here in Europe, I’m pleased to tell you that in our OneXafe product line, we’ve been growing over 100% and this is the same for our cloud offering. In our ShadowXafe offering, which is our new generation of ShadowProtect, we’ve been growing at around 20-25%. So, success really is in the numbers, it’s in the ability for us to show you how customers are utilising the technology in backup and recovery.
What are the challenges around data storage?
Globally, the single biggest challenge I hear from our customers and partners around the world is when they look at data growth and compare that to their storage or IT budget, the two don’t come close. There’s no way these people can say IT Administrators are having a hard time preserving their budget, let alone now having a conversation with their boss requesting more storage due to data growth. That’s just not the answer that budgets or leadership – what I call real active leaders – are putting forward. They’re putting the challenge in front of the storage industry. This is exactly where StorageCraft can have a strong level of differentiation. Our belief is that not all data is equal, but the status quo storage industry wants you to believe that because they want you to store everything – they want you to store everything twice, if not three times.
Our belief is that if you really do have intelligent data management and data insights, you can pick and choose. StorageCraft can be used as an example of this. For example – I have a data pool for a marketing campaign that’s extremely important; however, if that data was somehow lost, destroyed or corrupted, I’m going to be upset with my IT organisation. But I’m not going to lose revenue and undoubtedly, the business will continue to run. Now, if our licencing engine data gets corrupted or I can’t access it, I can measure that on a minute-by-minute basis on loss revenue. I think it’s a great analogy of how you must learn about the business priorities and how you must prioritise the data pools and establish recovery and recall points that are in-line with that business definition. This is why our partner strategy is so important – because our partners act as professional consultants that go in and help to find these descriptions of less mission-critical data, prescribe the recovery models that are necessary or the use models of the data that are necessary. We want people to be making much more intelligent decisions on what they should store.
How important are your partners for the business?
The only way we go to market is through our partners. We do not direct-sell – we believe in the model and understand that the model has the best reach so it’s the single best way to increase customer and end-user satisfaction. We’ve perfected this with people like Andy Zollo, who’s a master in the process of partners here in Europe and in the Middle East, with Lee Schor in North America and with Marvin Blough globally. These people have got a pedigree of leading channel environments. What’s amazing is that our net promotor score has steadily increased as we put more emphasis on the channel model of our business. Again, it’s not net promoter score measuring what the channel thinks of us, it’s the end customer and what they think of us that’s changing remarkably well.
Are there any regional differences between what the customers are requesting from partners and from StorageCraft?
Absolutely. If anyone tells you differently, challenge whether they’re global. My belief is that just because it works in Silicon Valley, doesn’t mean it works across the rest of the US. The reality is that you have to have local presidents to manage local markets. There’s a difference between France and the UK. There’s a difference between California, Texas and Massachusetts. People believe that because those American companies share the same tax laws and business strategies, there’s a lot of commonality. Ultimately, there’s a unique group of people and it comes down to relationships and people.
Some believe it’s expensive, but I think we try to extend our company culture into our partner base which seems to bring a real level of loyalty and commitment.
Has GDPR compliance been quite a concern of your customers?
I think what I’m experiencing, not just in Europe but also in North America, is that there’s a little bit of GDPR fatigue. People are tired of it but everybody’s trying to become compliant or has become compliant. I think the next time GDPR is going to be in everybody’s face again is when any government agency has a situation where there’s been a breach – a non-compliant factor. How does that work – I think the next step is to consider what happens when you are found to be violating intentionally or unintentionally. I don’t think all the breaches are necessarily going to be intended. If governments start to find a new revenue source, I think this could wreak havoc again for the industry and that’s where I think we have a great opportunity to apply some piece of mind.
What are StorageCraft’s plans for the coming year?
We introduced our new products at GITEX Technology Week 2018 and in the new year you’re going to see us continue to deliver on a whole host of new products. We’ll be delivering a lot of these products in Q1 and then in Q2. It will become routine in the fact that we have to have this constant volley of new products to be relevant and more importantly, to be current. We’ve invested and doubled the R&D expenditures with StorageCraft’s acquisition of Exablox in early 2017. So, a lot of that money we used in our investment, we doubled down on the number of people we have in R&D and the expectation is that we’re going to double the number of products. So, look for a continued volley of new products, look for us to perfect our partner programme. I’m really pleased with the new partner programme, but I think there’s a great opportunity for us to now start demonstrating the economics to the partner on utilising not just our technology, but our partner programme. Look for the continued conversion of our revenue streams to be more global – we’re still highly dependent on North America and while it shouldn’t be more than 50% of our revenue, today it represents about 90% of our revenue. And finally, I’d say that we must perfect with our partners, the advantage that a subscription model builds. We’ve done a pretty good job of it – roughly 50% of our revenue is coming from a subscription model and I’m going to feel good when we’re about 70%.