Recently, Array Networks has named as the ’Application Delivery Controller Vendor of the Year’ by Frost & Sullivan India ICT. Soon after this great achievement, Shibu Paul, Country Sales Manager at Array Networks gave an exclusive interview to Jessy Thuruthel, Associate Editor, itnews4you. Excerpts.
itnews4you: Array Networks has named as the Application Delivery Controller Vendor of the Year by Frost & Sullivan. How do you evaluate this achievement?
Shibu Paul: Consecutive F&S ADC vendor of the Year win’s in 2010 & 2011 are a testament to our commitment and hard work in India. Though a late entrant into India, we were able to garner enough market shares from our competition with a solid product line, focused approach & a very capable Channel partner base. Most importantly we have been able to gather the confidence of our customers. We are supporting more than 150 enterprise class customers, whose most critical applications sit behind Array ADC. Today most of our success has come from the hard work and as we move forward we need to be more innovative and create a niche for Array in the market place along with our customers & Channel.
itnews4you: How you could attain this achievement?
Shibu Paul: I will attribute this achievement to 3 factors
•Hard work by team: For any new entrant in Indian market the initial 2-3 years is a grind as the expectations are set very high. In our case most of our competitors have been operating in this market for more than 8- 10 years with a set customer & channel base. So it’s been hard work demonstrating our value in some cases for more than 12 months. Credit goes to team who has been persistently worked with customers and clearly articulated the tangible benefits Array brings to table.
•Support from our Channel partners: No company in India has been successful without the Channel support and Array is no exception. They play a very integral part and bridged the extra confidence to customer. More than the technology most of the customers are looking at SLA’s and user experience, for this they trust their SI’s. I would say we have done reasonably well here to get the key SI’s vouching for Array. Array has been a 100% channel focused and most of our relationships were cemented from day one and going strong.
•Excellent product & support: You could have all of the above and more but without a superb product & steady support infrastructure. We have been able to back our claims with a great product which performs and a pro active support team.
itnews4you: What the winning strategies are of Array in Indian IT industry?
Shibu Paul: Strategy that has paid
•Focus on few verticals which have great revenue potential and has a need for Advanced ADC solutions which is Array’s forte
•Focus on the SI’s who drive the solutions into the above verticals and enabling their teams
•Demonstrate tangible value that Array brings to table
•Retain and delight customer (Most of our customers are reference customers).
itnews4you: Do you face any challenges in Indian IT market?
Shibu Paul: Challenges for a organization like ours is multifold. Primarily we are a critical priority appliance in any DC but a very niche player. In a large project our components does not constitute more than 5-10% of the total project value. Hence garnering mindshare and timeshare from customer & partners become tough. Predictability & forecast ability of business is another major challenge as most of the projects get extended even after the results are declared . Lack of expertise is another challenge for OEM’s like us.
itnews4you: What are the drawbacks of Indian IT industry in terms of your services?
Shibu Paul: Lack of expertise is a cause of concern as not many organizations are focusing on getting resources trained on advanced ADC solutions. In most of the organizations H/w is procured from a SI who has little visibility of the applications. This affects delivery, performance and SLA’s to the end customer. There is a positive trend in some organizations to club application delivery controllers as a part of the application delivery team.
itnews4you: Which is the biggest achievement of Array in India?
Shibu Paul: Within a span of 2 years we have become one of the top ADC vendors in India and definitely first choice among our SI’s in our specific verticals. This to me is a bigger achievement than the 150 enterprise customer wins in 2 years.
itnews4you: What is your market share in India?
Shibu Paul: We are one of the leading ADC vendors in India. Our growth has been consistently almost cent percent in the verticals that we are focused.
itnews4you: What are your expansion plans in India?
Shibu Paul: In India has an excellent regional level presence covering sales, pre sales & support team. Expansion will be more in the TAC and support front. We are expanding our services into some of the promising Tier 2 and 3 cities.
itnews4you: Do you think that your channel partners have enough knowledge regarding the services you are offering?
Shibu Paul: Today most of the channel partners relate Array to ADC, Load balancers. Most of the partners are focusing on products and services that can be sold with very little effort and reasonable margin. However our efforts are on to equip them with enough technical expertise to architect solutions around ADC. Today that is a area that we are consciously working on with Array Total Value partner program . We are also creating niche channels who can architect and explain ADC solutions better in the market.
itnews4you: How their inefficiency affects your business and how you are going to tackle the problem?
Shibu Paul: This is a very relevant point. As I mentioned earlier a partner is more inclined to sell a product which can be sold with the minimum effort and maximum returns. In our case the returns and impressive but efforts are equally high. Today we are overcoming this by handholding our partners directly. This does affect our scalability & market reach. The solution to tackle this is training and partner development programs such as the Array total value. We are also creating a set of partners who focus on applications and explain our value and create bundles solutions along with them.
itnews4you: What is your market share in India? What are your expansion plans?
Shibu Paul: We are one of the leading ADC vendors in India. Our growth has been consistently almost cent percent in the verticals that we are focused. In India has an excellent regional level presence covering sales, pre sales & support team. Expansion will be more in the TAC and support front.
Founded in 2000, Array Networks is a global leader in enterprise secures application delivery and universal access solutions for rapidly growing SSL VPN and application acceleration markets. More than 3,500 customers’ worldwide – including enterprises, service providers, government and vertical organizations in healthcare, finance, insurance and education – rely on Array to provide anytime, anywhere secure and optimized access. Industry leaders including Deloitte, Gartner, Red Herring, and Frost and Sullivan have recognized Array as a market and technology leader.