Interview

HEIGHTENED FOCUS ON IT SECURITY

Shailesh Davey, Co-founder and vice president - engineering, ManageEngine, Zoho Corp.

From a cloud-adoption perspective, India is ManageEngine’s fastest-growing market. The company has come up with solutions that adhere to specific Indian laws and practices as well.

The Pandemic has forced businesses to shift to online operations and there has been a massive migration to the cloud. This has thrown open the wider gates of opportunities for Cloud Vendors as well as Distributors. As we usher into 2023, it’s time to look back and take stock of the channel performance of leading cloud vendors and distributors, and their key channel achievements. More than this, it’s pivotal to get a hang of the key cloud predictions for the Channel Market for the year 2023.

While the industry is agog over to know what all technologies would majorly impact the cloud market, we would take you through the cloudscape to listen directly from the horse’s mouth as to what the top vendors and distributors are thinking and reflecting, what are their premonitions about the shape of things to come in 2023 and their plans to turbocharge the Partner ecosystem.

[quote font=”tahoma” font_size=”13″ font_style=”italic” color=”#262626″ bgcolor=”#f9f9f9″]

“More than 50% of our revenue is driven through the channel eco-system. We ensure that our channel partners are not only trained on our products but also updated periodically on the latest market and technology trends..”

Shailesh Davey,
Co-founder and vice president – engineering,
ManageEngine, Zoho Corp.

[/quote]

In a series of interactions with the poster-boys of the cloud industry, SME Channels embarks upon understanding the cloud dynamics; what drives the cloud growth engine; the key milestones for 2023 set from the channel perspective; key mega trends in the cloud market in 2023, predictions for the New Year; direction for channel partners and the growth roadmap of the cloud players for 2023.

We spoke to leading cloud player ManageEngine to get a sneak peek into its performance in the cloud Industry. Here, Shailesh Davey, Co-founder and vice president – engineering, ManageEngine, Zoho Corp., reveals his company’s key Cloud Predictions for 2023, major achievements and the unique matrixes that design his seminal vision for the Partner Ecosystem. Edited Excerpts:

With the announcement of a slew of measures that call for massive and rapid application of cloud solutions in the country in the digital-friendly budget, how do you plan to leverage the immense market opportunity created in the country?

The introduction of a hybrid work environment, industries’ push towards digitization, and encouragement from the government have all led to growing SaaS adoption in India. From a cloud-adoption perspective, India is our fastest-growing market. Organizations of all sizes (SMBs and enterprises) are adopting cloud-based SaaS solutions, particularly from segments such as BFSI. This has led to us coming up with solutions that adhere to specific Indian laws and practices as well, for example: payroll, payments, and GST-related software.

We have also increased our focus on IT security and have released endpoint management software to manage devices such as desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. We’ve been fortifying our SIEM/SOAR software with AI and ML to prevent data leaks and insider threats. To support hybrid work environments, our enterprise service management (ESM) offerings are built with a strong foundation in ITIL principles (both on-premises and cloud), so they’re seeing a lot of growth in the market.

As a major Cloud player, what market trends would you forecast in 2023?

Some of the major focus areas in 2023 will be AI and ML, the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G connectivity, and edge computing. Surely the launch of ChatGPT has rekindled the possibilities in AI and ML technologies, especially on generative tasks like content generation, summarization, and conversational interfaces with deep context. This year will see a lot more releases in those areas from the big companies. Businesses need to evaluate when to leverage these technologies from service providers and when to use their own in-house stack, keeping in mind latency and cost equations.

What do channel partners need to have to adopt Cloud business and what are the steps to start Cloud practice?

With many organizations continuing to adopt the remote work model post pandemic, there has been an increased demand for tools that provide a better customer and employee experience. To that end, cloud offerings have been the preferred option because of the ease of maintenance and the flexibility they bring to the table.

In these changing business environments, channel partners have to ensure they build the right domain expertise to ensure they deliver value to their customers and in turn meet their business requirements. More than 50% of our revenue is driven through the channel eco-system. We ensure that our channel partners are not only trained on our products but also updated periodically on the latest market and technology trends.

While the revenue stream shifts from a CapEx to OpEx model for cloud services, it’s important that partners also understand that this model helps them build a steady stream of recurring revenue.

Please brief us on the kind of service support you extend to your channel partners?

Our channel eco-system has a mix of transactional partners, value-added partners, and system integrators. We extend a comprehensive training and certification program to our value-added partners and system integrators. We also help them build the right domain expertise—as they drive the customer engagement end-to-end by themselves on many occasions—by offering implementation and consulting services. We have a dedicated partner enablement team to ensure that they are supported periodically from both a product-enablement and go-to-market perspective.

We work with a lot of transactional partners who reach out to us on an opportunistic basis, and in those scenarios we do the heavy lifting by working together in positioning the right products, offering consulting services, etc., which ultimately helps our partners win business deals and generate revenue.

What partner training programs are run by your company to up skill your partners?

As ManageEngine offers a suite of products for enterprises to manage their IT infrastructure, it’s important to have our partners deliver value to customers through implementation and consultancy services, which in turn drives growth through a land-and-expand strategy. To enable our partners, we have built a comprehensive training portal that gives them access to periodic product training. We also have structured an advanced training program that includes certification for presales, implementation and consulting, and post-sales, all of which help them build the right expertise. In addition, we also enable our partners to build domain expertise for ITIL, cybersecurity, and more.

Navigating global data privacy and sovereignty laws has become a big issue for global companies. How do you look at the issue?

As an organization, we have always believed that the data processed by the various cloud services offered by ManageEngine (and our parent company Zoho Corporation) belongs exclusively to our customers and will not be monetized by us. The increased privacy regulations are just supporting our cause even further, putting control of private data into the hands of customers and data subjects.

It is true that the multitude of regulations come with differing implementations, and any modifications to the regulations can pose issues with regard to constant review of processes to keep up with the changes. But the basic philosophies of privacy—such as data minimization, purpose limitation, and storage limitation—covered in these regulations has an indirect benefit in terms of reducing the inventory of data that needs to be protected, thereby increasing a processing organization’s security stance. By constantly cleaning up unwanted data, more resources are freed up. Data sovereignty laws require data to be processed closer to the customers, which means that the organization, processes, and people need to be more distributed. This has economic implications for any organization that operates or has customers outside its national borders.

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