Networking Infra for a digital organization is uber complex with the traffic from cloud, end-points and mobility adding to the juggernaut. Software-defined networking is becoming a norm – in bits and pieces – across the infra. Extreme Networks is now all set with its new GTM backed on the integration of three acquisitions of tech companies last year. IDG India had an interaction with Subhasish Gupta, Regional Director, India and SAARC, Extreme Networks on the company’s blueprint for India.
What definite opportunities do you foresee for Extreme Networks in India over the next couple of years, and why?
Extreme Networks in India is very uniquely poised to see very high growth in the next three to five years. The New Extreme, as we call it, with three solid acquisitions in the past one year, gives us the immense opportunity in India to get into new markets as well as consolidate in some of the market verticals that we have traditionally been strong in. Be it datacenters, top end enterprises, Fortune 100 companies, government/PSU, the best of Wi-Fi solutions-indoor as well as outdoor, or the most scalable NAC solutions for enterprises and campuses, we have the entire length and breadth of networking portfolio.
“Any modern enterprise customer in India can clearly look at Extreme Networks as the one single brand that can now compete head on with Cisco.”
Regional Director, India and SAARC, Extreme Networks
The acquisitions of Brocade’s datacenter business, Avaya’s data business as well as erstwhile Zebra’s wireless LAN business, brings in a plethora of large customers into our GTM bucket, including largest of airports, datacenters, retail chains, big banking and finance enterprises and Fortune 100 companies.
Also, we are proud to have four of the largest R&D labs in India, with a huge pool of talent. This provides us the opportunity in India to customize our solutions and offerings as per Indian customers’ requirements.
What is the new expectation list from CIOs and network managers with respect to their networking infrastructure? Is wireless on top of their minds?
Most CIOs and the network managers want the best-in-class solutions that can be managed through a single pane of glass. Consider a scenario wherein a multi-location manufacturing company or a super specialty healthcare chain, is implementing /upgrading their networks. The most important criteria for IT team is to have a wired/wireless/NAC solution with a solid, granular NMS that can all be managed through a single pane of window and this is exactly what Extreme Networks provides. The unique Extreme Management Control Analytics software provides the customer with a detailed and very granular level of application and performance analysis.
Wireless for every customer is a must. Again we offer one of the best in class, wireless solutions with the best in class WIPS offerings.
Do you see a big advantage for CIOs and IT decision makers in India with the enhanced portfolio of Extreme after the integration of networking gear from Zebra, Brocade and Avaya?
We understand that we carry huge responsibilities to the customers who have invested in Zebra wireless, Brocade DC solutions as well as Avaya Fabric solutions. Also, we are taking measures to engulf the channel partners who have been selling these solutions in India over the years.
Key Constituents of
‘The New Extreme’
Brocade’s Datacenter business
Avaya’s Networking business
Zebra’s Wireless LAN business
As a first step, there is a high level of knowledge transfer that has happened (and is happening) within the Extreme Networks’ India team. We have also to a great extend geared our TAC operations/ support services to ensure a seamless experience to the existing customer base.
Any modern enterprise customer in India can clearly look at Extreme Networks as the one single brand that can now compete head on with Cisco. We bring in the much required choice to every CIO and IT decision maker in India.
What about the existence of hardware networking appliances in IT infra for organizations due to the increased move towards the software defined world?
We have a strong roadmap on SDN offerings with a good uptake across the globe. We don’t see that shift happening immediately in India. The relevance of hardware (including networking gear) in IT infra will be there for at least another half a decade, of course with network infrastructure being simpler to manage. We see some companies warming up to the concept and explore SDN into their infrastructure as per business need and IT maturity. It will be a hybrid world of hardware-centric and software-defined networking infra for most organizations.
We already have one of the industry’s best Cloud Solution offerings which is a single cloud platform for wired, wireless and analytics solutions.
Indirect route through channels is an intrinsic part of tech vendor’s GTM. Do you intent to engage more with the enterprise channel partners of Cisco, Juniper, and D-Link in India?
There is no hard strategy to chase those partner sets. Extreme’s entire business model is partner led as we continue to invest and build the channels in the country. We are also rationalizing the number of distributors we work with in India depending on the business and value potential. With Avaya and Brocade acquisitions complete, we are engulfing the legacy partners to build a solid eco-system. Many of these channel names do overlap as they already work with Cisco and Avaya as an example. It’s all about empowering the best channel companies in India under the fold of ‘The New Extreme’.
3 priorities for India
Consolidate Extreme’s every single customer with best in class support /TAC and professional services offerings
Build a strong awareness amongst the enterprise and government segment about ‘The New Extreme’
Build a stronger channel with skillsets appropriate to address our large and increasing base of customers
I would say, ease of working with Extreme India team, brand acceptability amongst target customer verticals , as well as, completeness in our offerings are compelling reasons for channel partners to work with us. We also strongly believe in partners making healthy margins to sustain their business and grow. We have a new partner program to be rolled out early January next year globally.
Networking is a specialized industry that requires high levels of skillsets, when it comes to integrated higher end solutions. We have structured training program on advanced WIPS/WIFI solutions, Wireless NAC & Analytics solutions, as well as Cloud/Managed Services. These offerings are unique propositions of Extreme that should help us build the right channel partner alignment.
We are aligning with the channel companies that are ready for the basic investment in people with respect to sales / Pre and Post sales engineering to our products/solutions. And secondly they should have a strong GTM approach with Extreme, as against a deal based approach that some believe in.
Which technology trends according to you will add impetus to Extreme Networks’ India business?
Indian enterprise and government customers are investing in Wireless technology. Extreme offers the best in class security solutions to build reliable and enterprise grade wireless networks. We already see a high growth in our revenues for wireless solution offerings. Another trend picking up steam in government is the subtle acceptance to invest in Cloud. Extreme has a very unique offering on cloud services for India and we have well etched blueprint for the same.
Simplicity in managing complex networks is also a key criteria for CIOs and IT managers. Every customer environment is today complex - be it a large education campus, a 300 bed health care facility or a manufacturing setup. Invariably they have wired, wireless and NAC solutions in place. Managing these complex networks is one thing but they expect the networking solution to offer the ability to make changes in the infra with a click of a button. They want a single window from wherein their entire network, all the different networking technologies should be managed. And Extreme Networks precisely provides this aspect in the networking gear.
What would be your top priorities for India in 2018? And which verticals in the region are the sweet spots for Extreme Networks?
Consolidation of every single customer of Extreme with best in class support / TAC and Professional Services offerings which are all available in the country. We need to build strong awareness amongst enterprise and government of ‘The New Extreme’. And lastly we are extremely focused on building a stronger channel ecosystem with skillsets appropriate to address our large and increasing base of customers.
Enterprise segment more specifically BFSI is a sweeter spot with the acquisition of Brocade’s DC biz and Avaya’s strong positioning of fabric. Manufacturing has always been a stronghold for Extreme. Retail and Hospitality –with large deployments of wireless solutions from our extensive portfolio. Government infrastructure, we believe, will be big market, and we are taking the right steps to address these large markets.