NATIONAL HARBOR, MD — Commvault CEO Bob Hammer kicked off his company’s second-ever Go customer and partner conference here by proclaiming that information technology is on the decline, and data technology is the way of the future.
It’s not a surprising statement, given Commvault’s focus as a data platform provider, and the industry’s move towards selling based on business outcomes, which are often centered around getting value out of a corporation’s data, but the move does require some significant changes in how partners think about their customers’ environments.
“Legacy IT is where the data was stored, centralized, and not shared. Data technology is about dispensing and data everywhere,” he said. “IT is focused on improving the infrastructure. But CIOs and CEOs are now focusing on understanding and defining critical data requirements, then use those requirements to to drive their key infrastructure investments.”
It’s Commvault’s take on the seemingly industry-wide message — define what the customer wants to accomplish, and let the infrastructure underneath flow from that definition in whatever form makes the most sense.
“Data has been our heart and soul — it’s all about data because that’s the thread that ties everything together,” Hammer said. “It’s about the ability to know, understand, and act on everything in your enterprise.”
Hammer outlined four major trends that are driving that transition.
First up, the mainstream status of cloud and hybrid IT, Hammer said, is both “here to stay, and better suited for a data-centric viewpoint” because they follow exactly the above methodology — data lives where it most makes sense for the desired solution, now where some sort of overall infrastructure strategy dictates. Witness, Hammer notes, the much talked-about “boomerang effect” where half of organizations that have moved workloads to the cloud have ultimately decided to bring at least some of those workloads back on-premise.
Second, Hammer pointed to the need to mitigate and recover from risks and threats in an environment where “it’s not if an attack hits your business, but if.” Yes, it’s important to prevent those attacks from happening as best you can, but given that near-certainty, it’s equally important to “find a way to bring your whole system state back up” as quickly and painlessly as possible after an attack. And again, while these attacks may be on technology infrastructure, compromising that infrastructure is not the attacker’s ultimate goal.
“These attacks are after your data, not your infrastructure,” Hammer said.
The third major factor may be the most timely one, given the impending implementation of Europes General Data Protection Regulation early next year — the “imperative of compliance” is becoming more and more a factor, and it’s an issue where data is at the heart, considering it’s that data which is being protected, and the significant fines attached to non-compliance for any organization that does business in the European Union.
“The issue is that most companies do not have a comprehensive understanding of their data,” Hammer said.
The fourth and final point helps address one of the next big moves the company is making, as Hammer said “analytics are the new table stakes” for data-centric solutions and data-centric organizations.
“It’s about actionable insights that drive business decisions, and it’s becoming the heart of all organizations, including Commvault,” he said.
To that point, the company is expected here at Go to launch both its analytics platform and the first applications attached to that platform. Hammer said that focus on analytics includes taking advantage of AI and machine learning, as well as enhanced search.
“As we make the move to data technology, data analytics will drive more and more of our mindshare and investment,” Hammer said. “The analytics are built into the platform from the core out. Getting use and value from your data has been part of our mantra for 20 years, and now we’re in a position to really bring this at a broad scale to our customers.”
Ralph Nimergood, vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Commvault, said the shift in focus towards data technology suites the company’ channel ranks well, given their focus and skill sets.
“We’re starting with a ‘smarter than the average bear’ population, so this evolution to digital transformation and data technology is not foreign to them,” Nimergood said.
To further support that transformation for partners, the company has “refreshed all our enablement on both technology and sales sides” over the last six months to include the company’s laters products, strategies, and directions.