Top Gun 51 Profile: Veeam’s Kevin Rooney on Embracing the as-a-Service Model
… millions of users have been exposed because of a data breach. As we move into this new world of hybrid cloud, it’s going to become everybody’s reality. The data management challenge — and how our customers navigate it — we need to make sure our partners are on the front foot in delivering that story. The size of the partner runs the gamut. We don’t care whether they have 10 employees or 1,000, it matters whether they are committed to understanding why Veeam is the best solution for their customers.
CF: How did you get to this place in your channel career?
KR: I’ve been in high tech for 20-plus years. I have been an end-user rep and in different roles. My predominant experience over the past 12 years is in the channel side of the business.
I worked at HPE as it’s now known for six years. I ran the national partner team in the U.S. My family moved to Australia and I managed the South Pacific business. I came back, went to VMware and started their cloud partner team, and then I was recruited by Veeam.
What helped me make the decision to come to Veeam from a channel standpoint is that I pride myself and my reputation is being completely transparent, to be very predictable: Say what you mean and mean what you say and follow through with it.
Veam had a go-to-market strategy that completely backed that up. You didn’t have to have separate conversations with, “OK, you want to work with these types of customers? Here’s how we do it there. And “Oh, you want to work with these customers? Oh, I’m sorry. You can’t.” Veeam had such a nice, clean strategy. You didn’t have to convince people within the company to work with partners of a certain deal size. There are a lot of companies that say, “Here’s where we want the partners to play. Some customers are direct to the vendor.”With Veeam, we need them to engage across the entire landscape.
CF: How will partners prevail in the channel?
KR: The partners that are successful are evolving with what customers are requiring: The as-a-service model. Those partners are going to survive the day. Customers aren’t making huge infrastructure purchases. They want an as-a-service model. Partners that are adapting to that model are outdistancing those that are stuck in the older way of doing things. The market forces change things; vendors could try to force change, but that will fall flat. But customers are driving change. Look at how we consume any services in our personal lives: You don’t sign up to a 10-year Netflix commitment. You want a flexibility of a month-to-month or a shorter-term engagement. Our partners are having to become flexible in how they offer.
CF: If you could give one piece of advice to partners, what would it be?
KR: Adapt to the way consumers want to consume. Be strong in services. Be strong in cloud. Be strong in as-a-service offerings. It can be painful in the beginning. The top line looks different, and it can be a painful transition.
CF: Any other thoughts on why you have has won this award?
KR: Put your people in the best position to be successful. And be transparent and set achievable goals.