Interview

SETTING NEW BENCHMARK IN PARTNER ENABLEMENT

Ash Vijay, Vice President, Global Partnerships, Redis

Redis is in a very unique position because it has one of the fundamental databases which any developer can use when it comes to the world of real-time applications.

The year gone by will go down the memory lane as a year of mixed experience. Starting from the widening market opportunities to a somewhat visible respite from the raving pandemic, from being the year of Europe’s greatest war since World War II that pushed the pandemic-battered global economy and the European markets into recession to a year of greater cybersecurity concerns — 2022 has seen it all.

In a series of interactions with the poster-boys of Indian IT, SME Channels embarks upon understanding how leading vendors and distributors have fared in the year gone by; what drives their growth engine; the key milestones for 2023 set from the channel perspective; key channel predictions for the New Year; direction for channel partners and their growth roadmap for 2023.

We spoke to Redis, the open source, in-memory data store used by millions of developers as a database, cache, streaming engine, and message broker, to get a sneak peek into its performance in the channel market and its key channel predictions for 2023.

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

“We provide different levels of technical training, certifications, and sales training depending on the level of commitment these partners have toward us.”

Ash Vijay,
Vice President, Global Partnerships,
Redis

[/quote]

Suppporting next-gen hyperscale companies that have the cloud, scale, and speed as part of their DNA, Redis has solved some of the critical problems faced by global organizations. Redis Enterprise provides flexible deployment options spanning on-premises to fully managed services on AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. This enables companies to architect their applications’ real-time data processing needs with a cloud-native mindset regardless of where they are in their modernization journey.

The company helps its partners build, deploy, and run real-time applications with Redis Enterprise for their customers. The evolution and growth of the Redis Partner Program are central to the company’s strategy of enabling companies to have the required resources and support to deliver bottom-line results and success across diverse customer technology environment. Redis’ channel partners now have new and upgraded financial compensation programs, technical support, and marketing resources that will provide greater access to customer projects and services that can benefit from Redis Enterprise.

In an exclusive chat with SME Channels, Ash Vijay, Vice President, Global Partnerships, Redis, reveals his company’s key channel Predictions for 2023, major achievements and the unique matrixes that design his seminal vision for the Partner Ecosystem. Edited Excerpts:

 

As a leading player in the tech landscape, how has the experience of Redis been and how has it been able to leverage the kind of opportunity thrown in its way by the pandemic?

There has been more reliance, especially in the world of apps and the way developers think about using databases to power apps. Redis is in a very unique position here because we have one of the fundamental databases which any developer can use when it comes to the world of real-time applications and it provides a lot of value when it comes to the element of simplicity and sub-millisecond performance in the world of NoSQL databases.

We’ve definitely seen a huge spike in how we’ve noticed companies in India and the greater APAC region using databases and how that has also scaled in the last few years in the open-source ecosystem and more specifically in the enterprise ecosystem.

We monetize on Redis Enterprise which is a fully managed service from our side, and increasingly more enterprise companies have started using such as banks, retail, and startups in India. We have noticed a lot of partners have started relying on Redis which can actually help them run their apps better and faster. We have seen more and more partners now starting to use our product as well, either in the form of an open-source ecosystem or in the form of the Redis Enterprise product which we sell today.

Almost all tech players are betting big on the APAC region. What is the current state of your channel network in the region and where does India stand in your  overall global business strategy?

We have over 200 partners today who use Redis Enterprise globally. We have a lot of people who use Redis as the open-source software as part of their overall applications but the real value of Redis, we as a company fundamentally feel, comes from the use of Redis Enterprise and we are starting to see more and more partners feeling the same thing. Within the APAC ecosystem, we have close to around 50 partners who are using Redis Enterprise and are part of our channel ecosystem.

Just to give you an idea of how important India is for us, I travel globally to meet a lot of my customers and partners, and within the last 14 months, I’ve been to India three times. I go to regions where we close big deals, where we actually see the channel and the potential for growth. That is in itself by far the most I’ve traveled to any country outside of the United States from where I am based. That’s the potential we see with respect to the region.

We hosted RedisDays last year where we interacted with developers and shared the future roadmap. RedisDays Bangalore last year was sold out. We had people waiting outside the door and wanting to come in and we actually had to turn some of them which was something that was unheard of for us as a company. So, we’re seeing the business grow in India and people love using our products.

And another interesting thing that we have noticed is that partners are embracing that too. I’ll give a shout-out to one partner Prodevans who specializes in the financial services industry, especially in banking who uses Redis Enterprise. They are going to market with us strongly and they have told us that they are seeing fundamental growth in the financial sector once they start to leverage Redis Enterprise.

Redis has so much potential in India and that’s why I want to continue to invest. I’m adding more resources as well and we are growing our teams in India. The potential for Redis in India is probably one of the highest which I’ve seen during my time in the tech sector period.

What are your key focus areas when it comes to turbocharging the channel ecosystem in the Indian market?

The program that we have designed is in a way where partners can monetize on how they wish to go to market with Redis Enterprise. We want to make our partner program a more proactive model than reactive. Previously there was no structure around it.

We put together a very simple tiering system. One is called Community and the other one is called Enterprise. We offer different things from standard discounts to all the way to partner enablement, and joint marketing including training these partners with certifications depending on the level of investments partners are doing.

Prodevans, our partner in India, went through specialized Redis Enterprise certifications over the last six months where they actually sat down with our Redis experts and got trained on the product, which in turn allowed them to be comfortable when they talk to their end customers on how do they focus on the deployment and how does Redis fit in the overall architecture as they talk about the digital transformation or the strategy for the future.

The goal for us is to make sure that we give our partners the right tools so they can actually build a go-to-market motion through which they can actually monetize and build a good and solid book of business.

How has Redis been upskilling its partners to churn out the desired and most effective solutions for the market?

There is a brand-new partner enablement curriculum that we have put together and we provide different levels of technical training, certifications, and sales training depending on the level of commitment these partners have toward us. We are also enabling our partners to talk to our customers on behalf of Redis. It’s more of a model in which we want to make sure that we are hand in hand with the partners so as we grow, they grow and as they grow, we are there to provide them the support they need to build a book of business.

We are building a very strong go-to-market motion. There are also benefits that we are placing on community engagement, and targeted joint marketing opportunities like brand awareness. We are encouraging partners who are thinking about investing with us to have dedicated webpages on the value proportion of Redis Enterprise. We are doing joint webinars and customer round tables so they actually can get their senior executives in-person with customers.

Having a strong ecosystem of partners will only help the end customers at the end of the day or at least that’s our vision as we try to scale this out.

What would you rate as your key channel achievement in the year 2022?

2022 was a very tough year across the board for a lot of tech firms and the future is also not very clear.. In terms of our biggest achievements, we have built a very close relationship with our cloud ecosystems and Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud are very strong strategic partners for us across the board. We’ve invested heavily in all these cloud ecosystems, built deep strategic agreements with them and that’s been a fundamental change in how we go about our business. We want to align with our cloud players as our SaaS product grows, we grow on these three different ecosystems.

We made a strategic collaboration agreement with AWS where we want to do a lot of joint go-to-market with them. Similarly, we signed an agreement with Google Cloud, and we probably have our deepest relationship with Microsoft with Azure Cache for Redis Enterprise which is a service itself under the Azure umbrella or what Microsoft calls a first-party service.

As a channel-first company, what would be your key directions to the partners for 2023?

We are a developer-first company more than a channel-first company. Our goal has always been developers first. From a go-to-market strategy, the channel is the goal for us because we see the value of partners. I come from a world in which I’ve built partner programs in Microsoft before that, I worked in partner programs like Citrix, Cloudera and I’ve worked across the board. Redis is in its early stages and the one thing which I’ve always noticed and have learned over a period of time is that partners don’t want complicated channel partner programs. They want a simple program where they know how they are going to monetize if they close a deal on a particular product like Redis. They want to know if the incentive programs are going to change and what types of investments they’re going to receive from us.

My simple mantra is that our program be simple, scalable and repeatable. This will help partners to decide what is the model and if they want to invest. For those partners who are willing to invest in us, we can work with them in a model that will make sure that it’s successful for them as much as it’s successful for us.

How is your channel strategy aligned with the key market trends?

One of the key things that customers are doing is tightening their purses because of the uncertainty which we are going through right now. So, efficiency and cost savings are a very big deal. The interesting thing is that most of the big customers, especially in India, have made big commitments with the cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. We have made sure that our products are in the cloud marketplaces. When customers buy our products from different marketplaces, they don’t need to get a new Purchase Order approved or a new budget approved by their leadership to start a new project. This is a big trend that we have seen, where customers are starting to rely more on the cloud marketplaces for procurement.

We have also signed up with the Amazon Consulting Partner Private Offers program which is a reseller program where partners can sign up and sell Redis on our behalf with a margin all present in the AWS ecosystem. We’re also working on something similar in the Google Cloud and the Microsoft Azure ecosystem. Hence all these things are going to be extremely important for us in 2023.

Are you planning any major investment in terms of channel expansion or expanding your overall business footprint in India?

We are investing in additional headcount in India and APAC. We haven’t seen a slowing of Redis usage. In fact, while customers are a little bit more careful now on how they use it, the usage has continued to grow and that is the reason I’m investing in sellers.

I’m looking at the partner ecosystem to help us and the reseller ecosystem acts as an extension of my sales arm. They’re going to be in regions where my sellers cannot be and going to help me close deals. The second is technology partners who are building solutions or OEMing Redis as part of their overall solutions. And this is where the vertical partners come into play. We are extremely strong in retail, financial institutions, healthcare, and manufacturing. Any scenario where you can see the use of AI/ML, all of these are really good use cases where Redis Enterprise delivers a lot of value.

And the third one is system integrators. It can be big ones like Accenture, Deloitte, TCS, or Infosys or it can be some local smaller and very specialized system integrator who works only in healthcare. We want to make sure that we train them and certify them or they come and get certified from us so the architecture or the deployments that will happen will cause minimum issues  for the end customer. These are the three ecosystems in which we are betting big and I would love to see partners help us grow specifically in India and the rest of APAC.

The healthcare sector has become a very promising sector in India. Are you planning anything specific to attract more business from this sector?

I don’t have any specific plans yet for healthcare. We have had a tremendous presence in digital natives and we’ve been doing phenomenal business in the financial, retail, gaming, and online retail sectors. We do see a lot of growth in Europe and the US and we have no problems investing there because we have use cases and we have seen customers who are signing up with us. If you want to grow your healthcare business then I am looking for you to help extend my sales force. So, if there are partners who are interested, definitely reach out to us because we do see a lot of potential in the healthcare sector.

What is your growth outlook for 2023?

I cannot be more excited for 2023 and our growth has not slowed down. I strongly believe we can continue to grow if we start relying on our partner ecosystem to help us scale. I’ve been here now for just over a year and I cannot be more excited to see the potential for growth specifically in the regions such as India and APAC. India will continue to be one of my key markets along with some of the other markets in Asia, especially Singapore and Korea.

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