Elevating our customer base at breakfast event series

By Michael DeLandre, senior director – Managed Storage Services, NetApp

Throughout February, NetApp held its annual Elevate series within Australia and New Zealand. The series of breakfast events, now in its third year, brings together our partners, customers and members of the media to showcase NetApp’s innovations and customer successes.

The events this year kicked off in Melbourne, before moving to Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland and Wellington.

Throughout the series, we were joined by NetApp director of strategy and technology, Mike Riley, who spoke passionately about the ways in which the role of the CIO is shifting to become a ‘broker of services,’ and why it is important for them to embrace this change. Increasingly, the CIO can either wrap his or her own corporate value around a service to propel the business forward, or deny it and let it become a drag on the business as a whole.

Riley also weighed into the debate on the value the CIO brings to the business, noting that “the average life of a CIO is less than two years, as they are the only person in the boardroom to say ‘no’.”

This year, we were also joined in New Zealand by NetApp cloud service provider Digital Sense CTO, Michael Tran, who praised the commitment and dedication that NetApp has shown towards its customers.

“It’s not about what you can do for your customer, it’s about what your customer wants you to do for them…[O]ther vendors tried to sell us what they could do for us, but NetApp listened to our brief and understood what we wanted to do,” he said at the event.

Tran spoke about Digital Sense’s decision to partner with NetApp, a decision he made following extensive industry research. He alluded back to the flexibility that NetApp provides, expressing his belief that it’s NetApp’s ability to tailor a solution to a customer’s needs that makes the company unique. According to Tran, this is the main attribute that made NetApp a “standout bidder amongst vendors.”

NetApp principal technologist John Martin led a series of fascinating panel discussions with Digital Sense and NetApp customer RP Data at the events, explaining that NetApp’s work with these companies is a great example of how we work as a broker of service for our own clients.

“It’s through working with such companies that we’re now beginning to redefine Tier 1 storage, where we’re really defining it to a business outcome,” Martin added.