During a recent interview in which I talked about NetApp’s relevance as a provider of cloud data services in a rapidly changing digital world, “racing towards danger” was the term I used to describe our ongoing evolution as a company.
What does racing towards danger mean, and why is it relevant to our clients?
Simply put, it means recognizing and responding to changes in the marketplace even if doing so means that you have to take risks and move beyond the framework of the familiar.
In his July 5th, 2018 article Prasanna Rajagopal wrote about how NetApp “achieved a feat that few other IT hardware or software companies have achieved in history” by successfully transitioning the company’s products to “growth areas of the market.” In other words, we recognized that possible seismic change as a result of the cloud was not only on the near horizon it was inevitable. Rather than rail against the shift we didn’t just embrace it, we raced towards it at full speed.
Don’t Push The Waves Back
With the emergence of the cloud, we had to find a different way of serving our clients. We had to adapt rather than resist – or as I like to say, avoid pushing the waves back into the ocean, and instead find a way to surf them.
In 2011, this meant seeing the opportunity in the cloud rather than viewing it as a threat to our traditional business model – which it would have been, had we remained static in our thinking.
Instead, our focus was on determining what products and features would be the best at serving not only our existing client base but new client opportunities as well. As a result of our approach to change, we ultimately became the market leader in “all-flash storage arrays and hyper-converged infrastructure.”
Of course, evolving to meet the demands of new market realities extends beyond products and services to include how an organization communicates and collaborates with other stakeholders. In this regard, I often talk about how “cloud winners” are those organizations who view the hybrid cloud as a team sport.
Collaboration And Change
If you are into fitness and training the term muscle memory will be one with which you are very familiar. In the business world, muscle memory is about how people within an organization work together to achieve its objectives. While this memory serves a purpose, it can also become an obstacle to transformation such as when people say, “we have always done things this way, why change.”
The fact is that change, as stated earlier, is inevitable. Enabling your organization to embrace change is the key to ongoing relevancy and success. A big part of that success is an ability to collaborate with both an inward and outward-looking perspective.
Internally, and through our Guiding Coalition that consisted of up to 30 people from within different parts of the company, NetApp facilitated its transformation from a legacy hardware company to becoming “the” data authority for the hybrid cloud.
From the standpoint of serving our clients, we can bring together the best talent and industry knowledge from across our extended team to solve customer problems.
What this is all saying is that at NetApp when it comes to transforming a business, we successfully walk the talk.
When it comes to the digital transformation of your business, you can either define it or let it define you. We believe it should be the former, and this regard I have but one question for you; are you ready to run?
Join me at Activate Digital 2019 where I will be sharing the main stage with one of our clients to talk about their success, and how you can identify the best path to realizing the digital promise for your organization.