NetApp on NetApp

NetApp plays the digital transformation field with customer-peers (SiliconANGLE)

Image result for siliconangle transparent logoThis article originally appeared on SiliconANGLE.
By R. Danes
June 13, 2018 12:14 pm ET

Digital transformation is about doing business around data, that much is established. But not a whole lot is clear about how to actually make the leap from the idea of data-driven business to the reality. Would working with a technology company in the thick of its own transformation be a wise move for confused customers?

“We really were drawn to this notion of providing outcomes for our customers, rather than providing storage long term,” said Bill Miller (pictured), senior vice president and chief information officer at NetApp Inc.

Miller spoke with Lisa Martin (@LuccaZara), co-host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, and guest host Keith Townsend (@CTOAdvisor), principal at The CTO Advisor, during the SAP Sapphire Now event in Orlando, Florida. They discussed transformation trends and how NetApp snipes the market’s moving target. (* Disclosure below.)

Cloud cool kids and on-prem sticklers welcome
The storage stalwart has made itself over for hybrid-cloud data management in the past few years, and NetApp is transforming internally parallel to customers now struggling with choices about IT modernization and business outcomes. While NetApp has “burned the ships” and will never return to being merely a storage provider, its new identity is not quite set in stone, Miller explained.

“We realize it’s not over,” he said. “We’re in transformation 2.0, which is the whole next generation. And most of our leadership team is very comfortable with the discomfort associated with continually transforming ourselves.”

NetApp’s customers are its peers and influencers. Many desire to move to the hyperscale cloud for flexibility, according to Miller. In Silicon Valley, for instance, “all the startup companies are being designed in the cloud functionality, so that’s where a lot of the new R&D and the new IP is being created,” he said.

Others may choose to stay on-premises, build private clouds, or spread out across a multicloud hodgepodge. NetApp is working the entire field to follow customers wherever they go, Miller stated. “It’s digital transformation around data, and it’s enabling that cloud journey for our customers at a rate of consumption that’s acceptable and digestible to them,” he concluded.