Commvault restructuring of product portfolio, channel enablement tools guided by same theme

Commvault has greatly simplified its solution set, from 21 product areas to four, and consolidated its partner enablement tools, with the goal of both being to greatly scale the channel business.

Scott Strubel, Commvault’s worldwide head of channels

Commvault has made a broad – but related – series of changes to both their product portfolio and their channel enablement programs. Both have seen massive consolidation and simplification. The product line has been reduced from 21 different product areas to four. Support tools like the Partner Success Desk and Partner Demand Center, which had been run in separate geos, have now been consolidated for greater efficiency and had their resources increased. The Partner Portal has been rethought and made easier to use. Business Development funds and opt-in marketing campaigns have also been increased.

“When I joined Commvault at the end of April, I I knew we would take the months of May and June to drive our second quarter, and I said there would be forthcoming announcements when we shifted to the execution of strategy,” said Scott Strubel, Commvault’s worldwide head of channels. “We took the first two months to study the current state and talk to partners, and we implemented the organizational changes on July 1. Resources which had previously resided in different parts of the world moved into my organization, as part of a global approach to how we distribute and sell our products. We also transitioned the organization of our re-engineered products. It is all about simplification, streamlining and scaling. We simplified our product set, and we streamlined a number of our processes. By doing the first two things, we will greatly scale up the number of opportunities and deals for our partners.”

Strubel said that none of these changes came from pressure from activist investor Elliott Management, which has already succeeded in forcing Commvault’s CEO to step down following disappointing earning results.

“These changes that we are making to re-engineer our organizational approach is a direct result of feedback from our partners, who wanted more change to be able to scale our business,” he stated. “We are re-engineering our business and products to be a partner-centric business culture.”

Of the four new product sets, the first among equals is Commvault Complete Backup & Recovery. It covers all aspects of backup and recovery , including workloads across all locations, hybrid environments, physical servers, virtual machines, applications and databases and endpoint devices. It also includes disaster recovery capabilities, snapshot management, endpoint user protection, mailbox protection for on-premises, and SaaS offerings, replication, disaster recovery, reporting and integrated archiving.

“The capabilities in this area that Commvault brought to market before are still available in our licensing approach,” Strubel said. “We have just simplified it greatly, consolidating capabilities into fewer SKUs, – without the incremental advanced options that used to be available.  I believe partners will prefer to sell using this approach because I subscribe to the notion that since time immemorial, partners have wanted to sell what is most profitable and easiest to transact. Our transactions have been profitable. We are focused here on being easier to transact – to increase the number of transactions being done. It is a completely simplified licensing model, and a simplified SKU structure, which has an error-free guided quoting system. It needs minimal prompts for additional information. You just need to know if the customer needs to buy capacity, or buy stuff, with instances. It’s the easy button approach to quoting our software, and the significance of this simplicity cannot be understated.”

The second product area is Commvault HyperScale Technology, an add-on for Commvault Complete that delivers an on-premises, cloud-like infrastructure to support scale-out secondary storage. Announced last fall, it is available as either a Commvault-branded integrated appliance, or as software that can be used with the customer’s choice of hardware.

“This has only been in the market for two quarters and we are already seeing parabolic growth,” Strubel said. “The early feedback has been good from partners as well.

The other two solution areas are Commvault Orchestrate automated service delivery technology that enables users to provision, sync and validate data in any environment, to extend the value of that data, and Commvault Activate, which includes analytics capabilities and the data privacy solution Commvault introduced last fall.

The changes to the channel organization are equally significant, Strubel said.

“I needed a larger organization to quickly drive that much change through partners, so we would have an impact in the second quarter for Commvault,” he said. The Partner Success Desk – an on-demand service centre for partners around the globe – was one of the tools that was revamped and consolidated to have this desired effect.

“Previously when we ran our channel efforts within the theatre, the different geos would support their partners, but in a different way in the Americas, and in EMEA and in  Asia Pacific,” Strubel indicated. “What we did here was create a global unit working business under one consolidated desk. It’s also not being staffed by new people, but by people from our system engineering and technical consulting organizations. They all resided within theatre-based organizations before. We now have more capacity and greater ability to deliver on requests for information faster, because with this larger scale, we will know how we solved the same problem last week for somebody.”

The Partner Demand Center, which gives partners access to Commvault’s marketing concierge team to help activate and execute marketing campaigns, has also been beefed up and globalized. It provides the ability to seamlessly stream content directly to partners’ websites and social media platforms.

“This now has more capacity, more money and more people than it did before, and provides more of a menu of offerings for our opt-in marketing campaigns,” Strubel said. “Taking a global approach lets us get more done than we could on a theatre basis. It’s a much larger investment as well.”

The Commvault Quote Center has also had a major overhaul, to make it easier to generate and provide product quotes in a matter of minutes, dramatically reducing the time it takes for sellers to create proposals.

“It comes from a change in the pricing and supporting tools, combined with product simplification,” Strubel said. “As we simplified our product suite,  we have created an opportunity to rebuild a quoting system that makes our quotes much simpler. On average, it now takes six clicks to generate a quote.”

Major changes have been made to the Partner Portal, including simplified access and click-to-chat capabilities.

“My experience with multiple technology OEMs has been that portals are an obvious tool and everyone wants to do it well, but they can be still be cumbersome to use, with information that is hard to find or stale. We have rebuilt it to improve the way that information is organized and displayed, and it is now profoundly easier to find information. We will centre all information on the portal, and point partners to where everything resides. We are also encouraging all partners in a series of webinars to view the new portal.”

Finally, the Partner Program has been augmented with expanded Business Development Funds.

“More of the programs that we drive through our Demand Centre will be opt-in campaigns, with more funds available, a  broader set of offerings, and more demand generation activities,” Strubel said.