Commvault names (the other) John Tavares as new global channel chief

The Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t losing their captain, but Commvault is gaining a new channel leader who has spent his entire career at EMC and its Dell successors, and believes his experience there can add some things to the Commvault channel.

Commvault’s John Tavares, new Vice President Global Channel and Alliances

Commvault has announced that John Tavares has been named its new Vice President Global Channel and Alliances. He replaces Mercer Rowe, who after overhauling Commvault’s channel program, has moved to the role of Vice President and General Manager, Commvault Systems Japan, where he will focus on growing Metallic, Commvault’s SaaS division, in the region.

Tavares has the same name as the Leafs’ star centre, but the two men aren’t related. While the Leafs’ Tavares spent his entire pro career with the New York Islanders before moving to Toronto, Commvault’s Taveras had also spent his entire career with one organization – EMC and its Dell successors – starting as a sales assistant making cold calls and winding up as Divisional Vice President responsible for the North America Commercial Central Data Center Solutions Sales Organization.

So why make the move after a quarter century in the same place?

“Those were unbelievable experiences for me,” Tavares told ChannelBuzz. “I climbed the ladder in a very systematic form. The majority of my career there was building out the commercial sales organization from almost nothing to a multi-billion. We built a channel business inside of EMC, which before that point had not been a channel-friendly organization. Here at Commvault, I have the potential to leverage that experience in a much wider role globally. Commvault is just in an incredible position with its channel partners and ecosystem.”

Tavares’ track record at EMC and Dell is focused on sales roles rather than channel sales specifically, which both he and the Commvault execs who hired him see as a strength.

“My previous roles look very sales oriented, but it’s a mix of sales execution, and building sales teams and channel Go-to-Market,” he stated, noting that he worked closely with Gregg Ambulos, who has managed channels at the EMC business for over two decades in building these out. “Commvault is in an extremely competitive market, but so was the on-prem storage and services that I handled at Dell. I bring a unique blend to the partner team at Commvault. There was a desire to add that sales execution expertise in combination with channel. Ricardo [Di Blasio, Commvault’s CRO] felt that would be powerful in bringing sales to the next level. There’s an opportunity to be more programmatic and be more pipeline driven around our unique Go-to-Market. I think we can really unlock potential there.”

This will involve beefing up programmatic support for the Metallic SaaS model that Commvault introduced at its Fall 2019 GO event, and which they are now in the process of rolling out internationally.

“With Metallic, we are seeing both enterprise and SMB adoption as companies move from EULAs to SaaS,” Tavares said. “We will be dramatically enhancing our MSP program in the coming months, creating broader linkages with the partner ecosystem, reflecting the fact that this is a fundamental change in selling motion. There’s a tremendous opportunity to link our ecosystem together, from hyperscalers to VARs, and a huge multiplier effect with us facilitating those types of connections in our partner ecosystem. That all ties into Metallic.”

The Commvault program was extensively overhauled during Rowe’s tenure, with new components of the Partner Advantage program being put in place and new rebates and sales incentives introduced. Tavares said that the plan doesn’t involve reworking that.

“Mercer has done tremendous work here, building partner trust and the foundation of our channel program, which involved a lot of heavy lifting in a pretty short period of time,” he pointed out. “I’ll continue building on the foundation that he put in that is resonating with our ecosystem, while also increasing the focus on simplicity. You won’t see me create a brand new slate on all fronts, but there’s a lot of places where we can focus and simplify to increase our channel momentum.”

Tavares identified several of these areas, drawing on his experiences at his former company.

“I’m going to look to enhancing the partner managers in the field in all theatres,” he said. “In the past, at both EMC and Dell EMC, I have had success with a strong partner field force facilitating connections with our field. We have a lot of opportunity there to create goodness.”

Next, Tavares noted that in working with partners, there tends to be lots of  talking and planning and not enough execution to move the needle with pipeline.

“If a partner wants to do X dollars in a year with us, we will move operationally to set targets and create the right type of programs to achieve them,” he said. “We have opportunities to increase that sales DNA that sometimes is missing in channel Go-to-Market. You will see an injection of sales DNA in creating demand and pipeline that map with both the goals of both the partner and Commvault. That’s something I look forward to adding.”

Finally, Tavares said that a new resource will be added to work on deepening partner technical efficiency.

“I want to enable the technical component of our global partners, in all categories,” he stated. “By April, or earlier, we will add a technical lead who will wake up in the morning thinking about how to build partners’ technical capabilities around our portfolio.”