Aruba Atmosphere Day 2: Network Modernization, Women in Tech

Day two drove home the evolution and adoption of network as a service (NaaS) and highlighted the power of connections.

Allison Francis

March 31, 2022

6 Min Read
Aruba Atmosphere Entrance

ARUBA ATMOSPHERE — The second day of the Aruba Atmosphere ‘22 conference in Las Vegas gave goers on-stage demos, a women in tech panel and a buzzing expo floor. 

The morning opening keynote featured David Hughes, chief product and technology officer, Aruba. Hughes touted the need for network modernization, a theme common throughout the conference.

Addressing Customer Pain Points

Customers have four main pain points and goals, according to Hughes. Those are hybrid work; digital transformation and acceleration; personalized experience; and the need for efficiency. 

To survive in this new hybrid business model, partners need to learn how to make calculated decisions about the services they offer. This is so they can standardize, secure and scale. With regard to digital transformation and acceleration, some companies were more prepared than others when the pandemic hit. Those that were further down the path of digitization got along better. This now means more IoT devices, and securing those devices. 

Personalized experiences, in this new landscape, simply mean that users and customers are expecting more. They want capabilities to be available both on the road and in the office. The need for efficiencies encompasses a whole manner of things, but the line of business in this environment is economically challenged. Customers are looking to IT to help drive those savings.


Aruba’s David Hughes

“The need for network modernization means automation (supplementing humans), security (zero-trust principles) and agility (the ability to adapt to change),” said Hughes. “The Aruba ESP solutions for network modernization advancements effectively give organizations these abilities. Not just that, but the ability to keep pace with rapidly changing business requirements.”

Women in Tech

The day also featured a session aimed at women in tech, touting the power of connections. The session featured guest speaker Rika Nakazawa, CEO and co-founder of BoardSeatMeet. She is also an entrepreneur, investor and senior leader in the realm of business transformation driven by technology.  

Nakazawa spoke about her background and what led her to where she is now. Promoting diversity and inclusion is vital, said Nakazawa. Network orchestration is important, as it powers diversity in teams — not because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do. DE&I leads to better innovation, and business success and outcomes (and research arms like McKinsey and Deloitte can back this up). 

More ground is breaking in this regard with each passing year, but Nakazawa urged the audience to “climb onto ceilings” and turn them into the foundations for the next generation of women everywhere. 

The session also featured a customer panel – led by Sylvia Hooks, head of marketing, Aruba – including Coleen Matsuo, The Home Depot; Shawana Gaines, HPI; and Susan Tincher, USC. The panel covered a broad range of topics, from challenges they’ve had to face and overcome in the industry, to what’s essential for being a true leader. 

Panel Outtakes


The Home Depot’s Coleen Matsuo

“The pandemic forced me to go outside my comfort zone,” shared Matsuo. “During that, I was forced to look inward, and there was some element of unlearning the advice and roadblocks that often come up in a woman’s career. I had to reshape the way I perceived myself, that my perspective should be valued no matter what. Women have to work to overcome internal and external biases.” 

“Be a thoughtful listener,” said Tincher. “You must be smart about how you communicate an idea, especially as women in tech, but you also must be …

… smart and constructive in how you listen. This informs everything you think and say, so when you do communicate your idea, it has power. If you are clear and direct in your way of influencing, you’ll be more effective.”

“The needle has started to move in the right direction,” said Gaines. “It’s hard to do in a fast-paced environment. But we are starting to see the results of the actions we’ve started to take. Directness is the key word. Be direct, be intentional and make your point. Be clear about what you stand for and what you’re trying to achieve. You can up-level this to a team or an organization.” 

A saying came out of the session: “Diversity is being asked to the dance. Inclusion is being asked to dance once you’re there.” You can have a diverse organization, but this is where the shift needs to happen. 

NaaS Gains Traction

The rising interest in network as a service (NaaS), and the dynamics that have contributed to creating this new demand, were once again the topic of lively conversation. Ulf Vinneras, vice president of service product management, Aruba, and Alan Ni, senior director of edge marketing, Aruba, both gave a deeper dive on NaaS and the opportunities it presents to the channel.


Aruba’s Ulf Vinneras

“Services such as NaaS will see a big increase in 2022 and beyond,” said Ulf Vinneras, vice president of service product management, Aruba. “Customers are moving more toward as-a-service approaches, and away from owning devices. Think of this as the onion model. The core of the onion is the NaaS, but it’s built for the partners. So within that offer, it doesn’t include any of the customer-facing capabilities; it doesn’t include things like customer success, etc. It’s built for the partners to include this in their offer and package those services around it as a wrapper.”

Vinneras saidAruba is announcing this week a program for partners to to get trained and certified on delivering  customer success, and professional and managed services. 

“So, what we’re doing… it’s 100% focused on partners,” added Vinneras.

Ready for Networking

Channel Futures also sat down with Donna Grothjan, vice president of worldwide channels, Aruba, and Jim Harold, vice president of North American Channels, Aruba. Each gave their insights into developments with Aruba’s new programs and solutions.

“Network modernization — it’s not a destination, it’s a process,” said Grothjan. “Customers want the ability to transform. This is where Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) comes in — these sorts of AI opportunities. Customers want predictive analysis. How do partners get to that next level in terms of growing their business beyond break fix? It’s anticipating things. That has really come to fruition with ESP.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Allison Francis or connect with her on LinkedIn.


Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like