Rainmaker Spotlight: Egenera’s John Humphreys on creating communities to generate value

Egenera John Humphreys

Egenera John HumphreysEgenera, provider of management solutions that bring together applications and workloads across platforms, has just announced that it’s received a $16m investment from Comvest Partners. We caught up with John Humphreys, VP Marketing, to discuss how this would affect its sales and marketing activities around cloud, communities and partnerships.

What do you see as the top trends in the tech industry just at the moment?
I think the biggest trend is the development of the multi-cloud world. Enterprises are starting to treat IT just like any other service, and they want to be able to operate across different providers at the application level. The CIOs in our customer enterprises, who are very much focused on applications, are asking three main questions: What service level do I need for this application, and what am I prepared to pay to achieve that? And then what are the security and compliance requirements for data that are driving this service level requirement? Once they’ve answered those questions, then they can begin to place the application across clouds.

And you also work with service providers?
Yes, that’s right. And on that side, we’re seeing the end of what we might describe as ‘cloud wars’ . A while back, every service provider developed their own cloud, and it had to be bigger and better than everyone else’s. But that kind of ‘arms race’ is really expensive, so service providers started asking why they were doing that. Why not just resell like they would any other equipment or service? So the world is moving to a more distributed model of cloud provision.

How are these trends driving Egenera’s offering, and also your sales and marketing priorities?
Egenera has to become a connector, so that our customers can get access to services from as many different places as possible. This is especially important for customers with large databases and legacy systems. We’ve built in connectors all across our software: to Microsoft, Amazon – and 80% of the public cloud use is via Amazon – Azure, and other clouds. And the more connections we make, the greater the chances that we expose service providers’ services to their customers, and the more value we add to both enterprise and service provider customers.

Which vertical segments does Egenera target?
Egenera has a unique focus on the physical. We tend to attract customers in sectors that really need to have absolute control of their physical infrastructure, like financial, healthcare, and government. There’s a lot of virtualisation, but we also concentrate on the physical hardware. We also build into our software really good disaster recovery systems and backups. These verticals really need that, because downtime is very costly. For the financial sector, it’s costly in terms of money, but for healthcare, it could cost lives, and for government, if you’re thinking about military or security, it’s unthinkable.

What’s your marketing mix, and how is it changing?
Our biggest challenge is to get the message out to customers. Our focus is on building communities, or ecosystems. Through those ecosystems, we give  customers the opportunity to trial our software and see if it works for them. Cloud is still a bit unreal for most people, so the challenge is how to make it more real for them, so that it makes more sense.  I talked about colocation, well, these ecosystems touch thousands of customers and hundreds of other service providers. We reach out through them to communities to find out how they’re engaging with cloud. Our new investment from Comvest will help us reach out further, to more customers in more segments. Effectively, the investment gives us more fuel for the rocket, so that it can fly further.

How does content marketing and thought leadership feature in the mix?
I guess you might say that content marketing opens the door, but it’s really through partnerships that we can actually tell the story. Egenera is able to bring together providers and enterprises, and the more we can do that, the more value we add to both sides, and them to us. It’s a real win-win-win situation: a win for the service providers because they can supply more services to their customers, a win for the enterprises because they can access more services, and a win for Egenera because we bring them together and help them to operate more effectively.

Disclosure: Egenera is speaking at the upcoming Data Centre EXPO event, curated by our own Puni Rajah

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