NetApp to increase revenue from SME segment



KUALA LUMPUR: NetApp Malaysia aims to more than double its storage solutions revenue from the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector to 25% from the current 10% in the next two to three years.

The company, which markets disk storage devices that run its proprietary operating system called Data ONTAP, as well as storage security systems, sees tremendous opportunity in that market segment.

Its country manager for Malaysia and Brunei, Andy Khoo, said SMEs have begun to realise the importance of having their business data kept safe, secure, archived and easily accessible.

These days, data storage should not be taken for granted or considered a “luxury” investment, but a necessity, he said. “Storage is a necessity because business information is a necessity.”

Any business that operates without efficient and effective access to data is operating blindly and will soon lose its competitive advantage.

And, in the event of a disaster or catastrophic IT failure, most IT equipment can be easily replaced but the business data is irreplaceable, said Khoo.

In the past, SMEs typically shied away from investing in storage solutions because such technologies were perceived as an “enterprise-only play” because of historical factors such as cost and complexity, he said.

“SMEs are much more cost sensitive than their enterprise counterparts, and they rarely have staff dedicated to managing storage, never mind implementing a whole new network to meet the storage objective.”

Today the situation has changed dramatically, according to Khoo. The introduction of new storage technologies and architectures over the past few years have helped lower the cost of introducing and adopting such solutions.

Industry players such as NetApp are able to offer enterprise-class products that cater to the needs — i.e. simplified management and scalability — and budgets of most SMEs.

Khoo said SMEs should take a look at NetApp’s entry-level FAS2000 solution. It features high-capacity disk drives at competitive prices, as well as easy systems management and maintenance.

Growing together

Additionally, he said, NetApp’s common end-to-end unified storage architecture and breadth of optional software available via easy-to-deploy software packs, makes it possible for SMEs to add functionality to their existing systems quickly and without complications.

So when SMEs upgrade to a higher-end NetApp platform, they are assured that their IT administrators will not require additional training. “This is because the same IT management interface and toolset are used throughout the entire spectrum of NetApp products,” Khoo said.

To achieve its 25% revenue target, NetApp Malaysia plans to work with more local resellers. But the company is not just looking to increase the number of its resellers.

It wants those that will be able to consistently sell its products. “We want resellers who will place regular orders (for our products with us),” said Khoo.

NetApp Malaysia has about 100 registered resellers now, but the number that consistently sell its products is much lower, he added.

The company here was established in 1999. It has more than 250 customers in vertical markets, such as manufacturing, oil and gas, finance and telecoms, as well as several government agencies.


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