New DataCore leadership team rethinks approach to market to drive growth agenda

DataCore has a new CEO, Dave Zabrowski, and a new CMO, Gerardo Dada. They were brought in to drive the company to a leadership position that has eluded the company to date, and discuss with ChannelBuzz their strategy to bring this about.

Dave Zabrowski, DataCore’s CEO

DataCore Software has been around for two decades as a software-defined pioneer in the storage space from the time when enterprise storage and big iron were basically synonymous. The company has shown consistent growth and has been in the black for ten years. Given the strength of its technology, however, many have believed that it had more growth potential than it has realized. Now the company has reworked its leadership, bringing in a new CEO and a new CMO, with a mandate to pursue an aggressive growth strategy in an era well-suited to high performance software.

The new CEO is Dave Zabrowski, who was most recently the founder and CEO of CloudCruiser, a cloud analytics company that HPE acquired last year. Former CEO and company founder George Teixeira moves to an executive chairman role.

“I think my background is unique,” Zabrowski told ChannelBuzz. “I started at HP, and advanced to running large business units. From there I moved to Silicon Valley startups, including being CEO of Neterion, which did networking virtualization, and my own company, CloudCruiser. After CloudCruiser was acquired, I didn’t want to go to another pure startup. I was looking for more maturity and more validation. At the same time, I didn’t want to go back and run business units for large companies.”

DataCore, he said, struck an ideal balance.

“They have 10,000 customers, and have been been profitable for 10 straight years,” he said. “The innovative technology makes them look like a startup business, but it’s a proven technology, which we are looking to bring to new markets.”

While DataCore has always had strong technology, Zabrowski said that its strengths now align with what the market wants, creating new potential for significant growth.

“Historically, DataCore was a pioneer in the software-defined datacentre, when the data centre was mainly hardware,” he stated. “Now the market is coming DataCore’s way, with organizations de-emphasizing their hardware and looking for software-defined solutions.”

Zabrowski said that Datacore has had pockets of success,

“We have been quite successful in some geographies, in particular certain parts of Europe, but overall, the execution globally has been inconsistent,” he said. “It has been left up to the geos to provide the success, Marketing has also been an issue, and had been a gap across the board since the early days.”

Improving the marketing strategy is now the task of new Chief Marketing Officer Gerardo A. Dada, who was most recently the vice president of product marketing and strategy at SolarWinds. Before that, he was head of product and solutions marketing at Rackspace.

Dada agreed that marketing has been a major issue for the company in the past, with the market simply not being fully aware of the potential of the DataCore technology.

Gerardo A. Dada, CMO at DataCore

“DataCore has had a proven ‘diamond in the rough’ technology,” he said. “For 20 years, they have been an authority in software-defined storage. With the right marketing, we should be able to claim the right to leadership in the space.”

The messaging is focused on DataCore’s ability to provide enterprises with a unique synergy from its portfolio which combines software-defined storage, hyperconverged, and workload optimization solutions. The latter is the newest component in DataCore’s solution set.

“The workload optimization solution, MaxParallel, is derived from our 20 year-old technology, and is not software-defined storage at all,” Dada said. It just leverages the technology. It is designed for the Windows Server environment and is a super-easy product to use.”

The focus will be on presenting the solution set as a way for enterprises to achieve real-time data market opportunities.

“We are launching into a concept called real-time data, which is resilient, and always-on,” Dada said. “Every business nowadays runs on data, and without data, they can’t do anything. We help enterprises because our solutions portfolio provides them with that real-time, always on data.”

“We are completely overhauling our approach to the market,” Zabrowski said. “That’s is why we brought in a world class marketeer – to address what we can provide at a much more strategic level. Customers today are overwhelmingly embracing digital transformation as one of their key strategic priorities – and real-time data is needed to do that.”

DataCore is 100 per cent channel in its go-to-market, and that strategy will not change going forward.

“Our go-to market strategy includes a significant number of ongoing strategic partnerships with other vendors,” Zabrowski said. “However, the majority of our revenue has come through our traditional channel model, with two-tier distribution. Our reseller partner base in North America alone is in the hundreds.”

A key part of the new strategy is to make that channel more productive.

“We are in the process of re-energizing the channel with new messaging,” Zabrowski said. “You will see new demand generation programs, and new channel programs. We expect to see an increase in velocity as a result. We are excited about developing new programs in certain key verticals, such as health care.”

This closer collaboration with partners on solution sets for key verticals is critical for DataCore to evolve from being simply a technology-first company.

“Better alignment with partners around verticals, and working with partners around more use case-based solutions will change our growth profile,” Dada said. “Vertical marketing around the new use cases will emphasize that our technology gives them a lot more performance from existing systems.”

“We have a mandate from the Board is to do what it takes to leverage our unique position, and achieve a higher growth profile, Zabrowski stated. “We have been growing and are very profitable. That growth can come organically, or inorganically, through acquisition, whatever is most available to the company. Gerardo and I will figure that out over the next couple quarters.”

Zabrowski emphasized that the stars are well aligned for a proactive strategy.

“We have a unique product offering,” he said. “We can provide the best of both worlds between software-defined storage, hyperconverged and workload optimization. We have a very competitive framework when the large established players who have been selling into this space are all struggling,  trying to reinvent a new model. We don’t have that issue. We are smaller and more nimble, and that will create new opportunities for our partners.”