Interview

We continue to invest in our partner ecosystem.

Ash Willis, Vice President, Partners & Alliances, APJ, Snowflake
Ash Willis, Vice President, Partners & Alliances, APJ, Snowflake

Digital transformation is a goal for the customers now and it has been accelerated during post pandemic, what is your opinion?

Every organization has a digital agenda, but what we really see is that every digital agenda is underpinned by data and underpinned by helping organizations maximize the value of their data. If I rewind five years ago, when we were having conversations with customers about data and monetization of those data assets and driving business outcomes, it was very much those organizations were leveraging the data that they gather from their own customers and their own systems and own inputs. The trend that we’re seeing and what we get really excited about is this concept of the data cloud and the data cloud economy. So, the types of discussions that we’re having with customers and our partners is much more driven by the fact that how do you build this data economy on top of the Snowflake Data Cloud. We see organization sharing data which could be a B2B type of relationship that could be monetized, or it could not be monetized. But we are also seeing companies do a significantly better job of consuming external data to make better decisions. COVID really has helped accelerate a lot of that. There were a lot of barriers before. If you look at in Government and public sector, the organizations were not sharing data with each other, but we saw a lot of those barriers removed during COVID. In the financial services sector, organizations are ingesting third party data to help them make better business decisions. That could be assessing somebody’s credit risk, or could be to provide more tailored services. It is not that they were not doing that in the past but now they are just doing significantly more than the previous times.

“We really believe the best way to drive impact with customers is in conjunction with our partners and we are investing heavily into our partnership team in India.”

How Snowflake help organizations in India to leverage the Data Cloud.

I have been hearing in my every visit to India that there is demand for more talent, knowledge and skills. There are few ways that we are tackling it.

Firstly, we are trying to make our solution easier to consume as Snowflakes is one of these technologies that are very easy to get started with. It is a managed platform and there is no need of a tons of expertise required to get up and running on top of Snowflakes. So we continue to simplify the platform and we continue to work with our technology partners to make it easier to interact with the Snowflake Data Cloud.

In addition to that, we are ramping up our education offerings. We have just embarked on “Snowflake Discover” where we are educating 10s of thousands of technology professionals across Asia Pacific and Japan on the Snowflake Data Cloud. We are building tailored education programs within our customers. We have at least quadrupled the amount of training that we’re investing into our partner ecosystem, which is very relevant in the India market. We have a lot of offshore delivery centers in India, and we continue to see demand for Snowflake knowledge on the rise.

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

“Security is not an add on for us. It is something that was bolted into the platform right from the start.”

Ash Willis,
Vice President, Partners & Alliances, APJ,
Snowflake.

[/quote]

Are you working with the big 4 partners only or you also work with the Tier 2 partners?

If you look at our partner network across APJ, we have got different types of partners. We have got data marketplace partners. These are the organizations that we work with to make their data available on Snowflake for consumption via other organisations throughout data marketplace – that’s one type of partners. We have got technology partners. They are both global and local. These partners are like Fivetran, Alation and Tableau and H2O.ai and DataRobot and Dataiku, etc. Similarly, there are hundreds of organisations powered by Snowflake and building applications on top of Snowflake and taking them to market. Aladdin Data Cloud is BlackRock’s managed data-as-a-service solution which is powered by Snowflake and it resonate a lot across the APJ Market.

Besides our services partners include Wipro, KPMG, EY, Infosys, NTT, LTI Mindtree, etc. are the big companies. These companies had originally established themselves off the back of AWS, Google or Azure, are now looking to broaden their capability from just doing things like cloud migration or app modernization to building dedicated data practices and Snowflake is leading in this race of building capability.

The third leg to our services partner is the GSIs. We also have got born-in -the cloud partners. And then we have got the traditional data partners. They have been working with legacy data technologies and they are now adopting Snowflake as one of their preferred partners. Even there are new organizations popping up with complete focus on data cloud. We will see over the next couple of years companies like Blazeclan in India are coming up, who are originally built around AWS. We call them Data Cloud Native partners. So, the brand new and just focusing on Snowflake Data Cloud businesses are scaling up super quickly and that is just a reflection of the amount of demand that we are seeing in the market for Snowflake related services.

What level of security you are providing to the customers who are subscribing your services on cloud?

Security is fundamental to everything that we do. One of the things that I really try and emphasize the customers and partners is being a modern data platform and a modern cloud data platform, security is not an add on for us. It is something that is already into the platform right from the start. That comes down to the underlying platforms we run on be at AWS, Azure or Google Cloud and their policies. We invest a lot of time and effort in terms of government and industry data compliance certifications – be it ITA, COX, PCI DSS, HITRUST, etc. trust like there’s a bunch of these. We are seeing organisations use Snowflake as a data store to capture security logs that are being generated through access detection mechanisms. So, the key takeaways from that is security is embedded into the platform. We have end to end encryption of everything that sits on our platform – be it at rest or in transit. We run on top of secure by design and infrastructure – be that is AWS, Google Cloud or Azure.

What are you doing to help customers adopt the data cloud?

We had our data Cloud World tour a couple of months ago in India in three cities including Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. Those were full day events where we had both business level and technical level education and awareness sessions around Snowflake solutions and our partner solutions. Snowflake Discover, which has 10s of thousands of technical professionals across APJ. I would say a disproportionate amount of those are from India just to really reinforce the amount of demand that we are seeing up there. We are investing in our field teams.

Every time I visit India, even over the last 10 months, it feels like the offices have doubled in size. We really believe the best way to drive impact with customers is in conjunction with our partners and we are investing heavily into our partnership team in India, APJ and globally as well because Data Cloud solutions aren’t used on Snowflake, it does take a full ecosystem. We see that a great way to scale our reach and impact across the market.

What are the competitive advantages of Snowflake vis a vis other vendor?

In terms of why Snowflake over competitive solutions, data is all we focus on. We regard many of our competition as coopetition specially the CSPs. I do not say that they don’t do things well but what we at Snowflake do is that we live and breathe data. We understand data better than anyone else. We believe in the pure play solutions and offerings and that resonates well with our customers. Secondly, we have been built on cloud right from day one. Unlike you know, some of the legacy technologies that will speak about cloud solutions and how they’ve got cloud offerings. They are not real cloud offerings. Those are legacy products that they’ve tried to make available on cloud and nobody has done it very successfully. The third thing is we offer customers choice. There is a lot of talk in the market around multi-cloud and cloud locking and it is like the hotel California scenario, where you can check in, but you can never leave. People are worried about that. They don’t want to be locked into a particular CSP technology. They want to have that flexibility to move across platforms. We give them that.  We have customers that run on AWS in India, but they might run on GCP in USA and on Microsoft Azure in Australia, but it is Snowflake at the end of the day. We give them flexibility to do that and run across different platforms if they choose to. So, these are probably the three main competitive advantages on the high level though there are a lot of deep dive technology advantages.

What is your growth charter for next couple of quarters?

We are going to continue to grow led through both enterprise customer acquisition, mid-market along with digital natives.  Snowflakes offers solution for starting from a small digital native company right up to the world’s biggest companies. So, we are not just going to focus on one customer segment. We see growth opportunity across all segments and all the industries and that is what we are going to focus on. We continue to invest in our partner ecosystem. We see them being not just critical for our growth but critical to drive joint customer success as well. That is another part of our business that will continue to double down in next couple of quarters.

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