Channel Chief: Ian Morris, Channel Director, Rubrik Australia and New Zealand

Channel Chief: Ian Morris, Channel Director, Rubrik Australia and New Zealand

Ian Morris, Channel Director at Rubrik Australia and New Zealand, a cloud data management company, describes his management philosophy as leading with empathy, a flat hierarchy and always seeking to empower others. Morris outlines here how he is working with the channel ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand.

Ian Morris, Channel Director, Rubrik Australia & New Zealand.

Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging?

As Rubrik’s Australia and New Zealand channel director, my core responsibility is to serve our partners. Primarily, this centres around enabling them to build a profitable line of business which manifests in supporting them with training, certification, and enablement. By arming them with the tools and knowledge they need, they’re empowered to protect their customers’ businesses with our best-in-breed Zero Trust Data Management solution.

The greatest challenge in this role is overturning the status quo of entrenched legacy solutions – particularly when it comes to backup solutions. Overcoming this comes down to communicating, educating, and motivating; communicating the benefits of a next generation solution, educating partners and end-users of the critical role immutable backups play in recovering from the scourge of ransomware attacks, and motivating decision makers to disrupt their thinking with a zero-trust approach to data protection.

Can you explain how your company works with channel partners?

As a 100% channel organisation, our partners are the lifeblood of our business. Not only are they critical to our success, but – more importantly – they’re fundamental to the success of our shared customers.

At Rubrik we understand that channel partners are a critical component of our customers’ IT strategy, serving as trusted advisors who guide organisations through their Digital Transformation journeys. As such, we are always mindful to engage in lockstep with our partners throughout the entire sales process.

How do you ensure channel partners flourish in a highly competitive market?

As the true cost of ransomware becomes increasingly clear to end users, the market for data protection and recovery solutions is more crowded and more competitive now than it has ever been.

Ensuring the success of our channel partners is front of mind throughout the entire sales process. For us, this process starts with partner selection.

At Rubrik, we take a ‘quality over quantity’ approach to our partner base and we’re selective in partner acquisition. To be clear, this doesn’t mean we only partner with the biggest organisations. We seek those with the skills, passion, and strategy to deliver truly outsized, transformative outcomes to our clients. 

As part of this process, I always look to find a partner’s unique value proposition so we can zero-in on their strengths and elevate them above the static in the market.

Finally, with these foundations in place, we use a strategic Marketing Development Fund geared towards joint go-to-market strategies that align with the key buying cycles of our partners’ target markets.

What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel?

Anything and everything that can be offered and consumed As-a-Service will be. This is a trend we’ve seen gain pace over the past few years, but as subscription services like Netflix and Spotify have become so ingrained and so second nature, this consumption model will become the norm. This is particularly the case as younger generations move into decision-making roles where they’ve barely known anything else.

In parallel, hybrid cloud will emerge as the standard operating model end-users seek to adopt. This is largely due to a maturation in the thinking and strategy underlying cloud adoption where customers understand some applications and workloads are suited to public cloud, while others are more suited to private or on-premise deployments.

What is your management philosophy?

Perhaps the best way to describe my management style is the ‘Ted Lasso’ approach to management. If you’ve never watched the series – which I highly recommend – Lasso’s approach can be summed up in three ways. The first is to lead with empathy. I always seek to put myself in other people’s shoes so I can understand their challenges and their goals from their standpoint. With that understanding, we can work together towards a common goal as partners.

The second is related to the first, and that is the idea of a flat hierarchy. In my eyes, everyone brings their own unique experience to the table and these experiences should all be considered with the same weight. And finally, I seek to empower those I work with to achieve their best. I’m not a micromanager and nor do I enjoy being micromanaged myself. By empowering partners and colleagues to achieve their best, in their own way, we collectively achieve far more than if I were to dictate how things should be done.

When you look back at your career, what has been the most memorable achievement?

One common thread throughout my IT career is that I’ve always been passionate about building things: whether that’s a team, a process, or a vendor’s presence in a new market. A few highlights that stand out for me where I’ve been able to build on what was there before me include my first leadership role at Express Data where I led the NSW sales team and had the opportunity to mentor a new generation of people starting their IT careers.

Lastly, joining the team at Rubrik is a highlight as I’m leading the Australia and New Zealand channel programme and have the ability to take all I’ve learned throughout my career and build a channel programme that truly puts partners centre stage.

What made you think of a career in technology?

A lot of people who work in IT talk about how they fell into the industry by accident, but for me, technology has always been my passion.

This started from the moment I first typed the command “LOAD “*”,8,1” into my Commodore 64. From then on, I knew this was the industry for me.

One of the best things about a career in technology is that no day is the same as the last.

What do you think will be the hot technology talking point of 2022?

In one word: ransomware. Over the past 18 months we’ve seen ransomware attacks grow with no end in sight and a litany of headlines from across the globe drive home how critical the threat is almost every single week. Across the industry, there’s an understanding dawning those thick walls of perimeter defences are failing. The focus is now shifting to ensuring operations and business-critical data can be rapidly recovered from immutable backups following an attack.

Underpinning this understanding is the shift towards zero-trust models of data management.

What are your personal interests and where do you like to spend most of your time after work?

Outside of work, my greatest achievement is raising four children. This is where you’ll find me when I’m not working. When I’m not entertaining – or being entertained by – my children, I’m passionate about the latest in consumer technology, particularly home automation.

I currently have almost 50 automated home devices, everything from smart lights, blinds, awnings, robot vacuum cleaners, speakers, cameras and irrigation systems hooked into my home environment.

I’m always looking for the next thing to integrate, and one day we’ll finally achieve a level of home automation akin to The Jetsons – which will then give me even more time to spend with my family.

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