Customer experience is the most important deliverable for modern businesses. Hence a right mix of technology systems (legacy and new-age) helps deliver the increasing demands of the customers in the digital era. We pride ourselves as a technology company on ensuring critical applications are available 24-7, 365 days of the year says Nick Nindra, regional vice president, Sales and Services, Asia Pacific, Stratus.
What technology trends do you see emerge related to availability solutions for organisations in 2018 across APAC and why?
The market for availability solutions and services is growing across APAC. Exploring simpler and faster options to ensure availability and to have them tested and managed through professional services is a critical aspect of IT’s responsibilities.
The first key trend is the increasing number of workloads are now considered ‘mission critical’. This is a result of businesses embracing the digital enterprise as their customers’ expect them to remain “always-on”. The cost of unplanned downtime is also on the rise that has a wide range of ramifications, from revenue loss to customer dissatisfaction, legal ramifications, and sometimes financial penalties.
A worrying trend in APAC is that while businesses start developing a dependence on IT, overall IT budgets are not increasing. Availability solutions tend to cost much more, and with diminishing budgets it adversely affects the purchase and implementation of such HA (High Availability) or FT (Fault Tolerant) solutions.
It’s definitely not easy for IT decision makers and CIOs to update their legacy systems to keep business critical apps available 24/7 in the digital era.
It’s true for many of them. The universal problem that concerns IT decision makers and CIOs has not changed for a long time: and that is the fact that all implemented systems will age. As a result, the replacement of these systems can be risky, costly and time-consuming. There will always be a need for solutions that can work seamlessly with existing applications and systems, and yet simple enough to deploy and pain-free to maintain.
We pride ourselves on delivering smooth and seamless transitions when implementing Stratus’ solutions. Our empowering, people-driven approach to delivering our suite of unplanned downtime solutions ensures companies of all sizes get the required training, information and knowledge to manage their Stratus’ solutions post-implementation.
“Businesses should re-shape their mind-set and explore areas where the implementation of self-maintaining, edge computing servers could reduce their overall IT expenditure, while empowering the OT personnel to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.”
Nick Nindra, Regional Vice President, APAC, Stratus
The IT infra of companies is becoming bandwidth hungry, App intensive, cloud ready, mobile savvy faster than ever before. How can CIOs manage the hybrid world (datacentre and edge) with technology providers like Stratus?
Our availability solutions are comprehensive. We start off by building high availability and fault tolerance into the hardware layer through our proprietary components. We then provide a suite of software solutions that complement the world of distributed computing which, not only has HA or FT, but possess an element of disaster recovery for virtually any infrastructure. This takes place staying true to our core proposition of having solutions that require no changes to the existing systems. The solutions are quick and easy to deploy.
We understand that this mix of edge and cloud-based technology will likely form the foundation of future IT infrastructure. Our latest solution was specifically designed with that in mind. It is a virtualized, fully-integrated, self-protecting computing system that can be set-up in under 30 minutes. Of course, we also have a global support team that matches the ideology of being “always-on”, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
What about IoT, ML, AI, Big Data impacting modern businesses and their customer experience? Do IT leaders have the right arsenal - IT strategy, business blueprint and internal skillsets - on their digital transformation journey?
The common point within these new trends is data. With the push for smart cities and intelligent robots, we see massive amounts of data being collected at the source. The ability to leverage on that massive amount of data will be key to optimizing business processes, increasing efficiency and productivity. However, the cost and technical know-how involved in upgrading their legacy systems is often the biggest obstacle faced by these businesses. Stratus provide that bridge through solutions that can still work with their legacy systems and yet allow them to fully leverage on the capabilities of IIoT.
Most modern businesses approach this new digital era by focusing on increasing their capabilities in their IT departments. It is the safest approach, but also the costliest approach. We advise these businesses to re-shape their mind-set and explore areas where the implementation of self-maintaining, edge computing servers could reduce their overall IT expenditure, while empowering the OT (Operations Technology) personnel to achieve greater efficiency and productivity.
3 Verticals of Focus for Stratus in APAC
Do you have any focused set of favourite verticals across APAC region and which solutions of the expensive portfolio work well for each segment?
We have an affinity to the manufacturing segment. With the onset of Industry 4.0, manufacturing plants want to drive higher efficiencies through automation. However, the cost of building a brand-new infra is prohibitive and IT teams are faced with the task of utilizing legacy systems to support these new connected devices. Stratus overcomes these problems by providing simple, serviceable and continuously available solutions that can be deployed with legacy systems, allowing for the customer to tap onto a broader IIoT architecture.
The next vertical that we understand well is the BFSI segment. To have services running 24/7, in the fastest transaction processing time is no longer a competitive advantage, but a necessity. In a world where transactions can happen globally at any time of the day, downtime will become a disaster. Our infrastructure-based solutions have been customised to not only accelerate processing speeds by improving network latency, but also preventing downtime by actively detecting and resolving potential problems.
We see the greatest potential for growth in the smart buildings segment. Stratus Always-On Infrastructure for Smart Buildings combines our well-accepted downtime prevention software, everRun Enterprise, with everRun Monitor powered by Sightline Assure. This creates a fault-tolerant virtualised platform that can easily monitor the entire building management network across multi-vendor solutions.
What’s the update on the indirect route (through channel ecosystem) of distributors, ISVs, MSPs and systems integrators to reach a wider set of organisations across APAC? What are the typical credentials you seek in channel partners to be successful with Stratus?
Our selected channel partners across APAC region provide compelling abilities to address our core issues such as prevention downtime, business continuity and the maintenance of data integrity. As it remains challenging for organizations to maintain their applications and service capabilities around the clock, our objective of providing assurance that our customers’ applications will be continuously available remains at the core of our operations in APAC. We view our partners as critical to our success and have heavily invested in programs to ensure their success also. A Stratus partner not only differentiates their product offerings by building continuous availability into your applications but they keep their customers happy.
While there is no one size fits all criteria for our channels, all of them possess the quality of being a leader in their respective technology fields and all offer sophisticated, high-performance solutions that align with Stratus’ objectives of supporting complex missions. Depending on their nature of business and existing solutions for their customers, a partner wanting to sign up with Stratus can choose from several partner programs that includes OEM and Distribution Partners, Service and Solution Partners, Strategic Software Partners, Technology Partners.
If Nick Nindra had a crystal ball to gaze five giant tech trends for 2018, what would they be and why?
Edge computing is a sweet spot for Stratus. Finding value at the edge can eliminate production of downtime, protect data in real-time and reduce the burden on IT teams. We will see more demand for processing data-intensive computing at the edge, specifically in relation to the rise of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Automation, together with AI, is a trend that will change and shape the future of work. AI programs, robots and other machinery are integrating into every aspect pf our current workplace. It will become a driving force over the next year as more organizations embrace machine learning.
Nick’s Tech Bets for 2018
Blockchain definitely is a key tech trend on my radar as it will gain traction throughout 2018. While blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin offer a multitude of opportunities in technology world, it is a disruptor mechanism that for people to tread carefully. As IoT has evolved, customers and consumers are demanding more from their IoT devices and this untapped potential is still present in IoT to be an agenda for technology experts. And within that, Stratus is keeping close tabs on the revolution of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Cross-border electronic payments (E-payments) continue to be a strong tech trend going forward. Enablers for those transaction, such as e-wallet mechanisms like littlepay, are taking off and I see this trend gain momentum this year.