“And for enterprise this creates a challenge - how can they latch onto this?”
Patterson believes the inability of enterprise to disrupt remains a contributing factor to the shifting dynamic of the market, and its subsequent impact on storage technologies.
“Enterprise innovates but doesn’t disrupt,” he explains. “True disruption is addressing a problem that your customers don’t have but large organisations are intrinsically set up to deal with problems that their customers have, not to expand on this.”
Most CIOs understand this, but for Patterson, they struggle to hang onto the notion meaning start-ups and innovative business models take centre stage, as businesses look to incorporate the new kids on the block to stay ahead of the game.
“The problems which these new start-ups are solving, and the manner in which they are solving them is creating a challenge for enterprise,” he adds. “How do we take those guys and put them inside our organisation to create new disruption?”
In New Zealand, and indeed the rest of the world, IT departments by definition are not designed to be disruption of start-up friendly.
But in examining the art of the possible, and understanding that to both survive and thrive innovation must be incorporated, the market is shifting and thus, impacting storage.
These new guys are not using traditional storage arrays,” Patterson adds. “They are using architecture that looks nothing like what we traditionally build enterprise applications on today so that’s going to seriously impact the market.”
To harness the streams of data flooding through enterprise doors, and the thirst for innovation at a boardroom level, the role of the Chief Digital and Data Officer aims to help - unifying organisations and bringing together different departments in the name of digital progress.
“Two teams compete within organisations, the business units who want to drive and outcome and IT, who does what IT does,” Arnold adds.
“Those aren’t always the same thing which is why new roles are coming into play in large enterprise to try and deal with that.”
As a result, Diamond believes the market is witnessing a shift in spend coming from enterprise, with storage tied into the new way purchasing technology.
“IT spend is now coming out of the business units who are the innovators in enterprise,” he adds.
“They are using those service catalogues, those innovations and the dev ops and the public cloud to be able to stand up and try things on a much more rapid basis to become more competitive in the market.
“IT departments are typically constrained by the policies of the organisations that they work in, sometimes that is policy they made themselves, but they are tying to change and become more agile and more responsive to business needs.”
Role of the partner
With the storage scene now set in New Zealand, and a clear picture emerging of where channel partners can capitalise and grow revenue, it is also worth nothing the shifting role of the reseller in the equation, as outlined by Craig Murphy, HP Alliance Manager, Dimension Data.
“In terms of managing the data explosion, organisations have barely got it under control,” he observes.
Coupled with the rise of flash, the need for security, innovation and data assets at an enterprise level, Murphy believes the trickle down effect leaves businesses perplexed as to how to efficiently handle the changes.
“Six months or a year from now, what will the storage market look like?” he asks. “Looking at data, businesses are struggling to see two or three years out which is why we are rolling out big picture projects with our customers.
“We’ve taken on more of a consultancy role because the way businesses manage and back up data is changing, and it is of huge concern.”
As a specialist in server and storage platforms, Murphy says at present, businesses are tasked with supporting hundreds, or even thousands of apps and workloads, all with varying performance and capacity requirements.
As such, flexibility and the avoidance of vendor lock-in continues to be high on the Kiwi priority list.
“Businesses are requiring elastic platforms that provide a flexible foundation from day one,” Murphy adds. “They are against vendor lock-in and as partners, we are now working back from those requirements to deliver solutions to customers.
“By starting big and working back, businesses can flexibility operate because they don’t know what the future looks like.”
Echoing Murphy’s comments, and in addressing the issue from a distribution perspective, Sam Taylor - Vendor Business Manager, Westcon says the jury is out on whether the entire channel is taking a similar lead, but accepts that innovation within storage is happening at a New Zealand level.
“It absolutely depends on the partners to be honest,” adds Taylor, who works closely with Kiwi storage resellers up and down the country.
“Some partners have been pushed by their customers which is common but those who are doing incredibly well in the storage space are those who understand that it’s all about business outcomes.
“It’s about choosing what workloads go where, whether on-premise or cloud and building strategies and business models to take to customers.”
In examining the state of play at a national level, Taylor sees a lot of investigation into Shadow IT, and who the new decision maker within the enterprise.
“It focuses around the whole unit of who is the decision maker and what is now becoming the business unit instead,” he adds.
“There is a real fear about what is out there, what don’t we know about where our data is sitting and can we wrap security around it?”
Consequently, Taylor says IT is changing to become the enabler and set the policy rather than the decision.
“That’s fine and we are okay with that,” he adds, “but there are the guidelines you must adhere to.
“There’ll always be partners who deal at a lower cost but the ones who are succeeding are the ones that know their customers.
“They know where the market is heading and they are able to have that conversation with the customer around this is what you’re trying to accomplish and here’s what we suggest and here is where we see the market going.
“It’s not just about solving the problem now, but it’s also about setting that customer up for the future.”
Again alluding to the bigger picture, with the storage scene in New Zealand now set, the key question remains - How can the channel rise to the enterprise challenge?
For the second part of the Reseller News Roundtable - check back to Reseller News next week for how channel partners can drive the storage conversation, react to industry trends and create opportunity in the Information Age.