Thoughts on Nutanix’s New Customer Success Division

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Most organizations deploy Nutanix either to facilitate individual use cases or as a strategic platform. The strategic approach more quickly moves IT out of legacy infrastructure and  better positions IT to achieve business objectives such as digital transformation. But successful strategic deployments require much planning, preparation and thoughtful execution. Nutanix initiated the Customer Success division to assist customers with strategic migration to enterprise cloud as a platform.

Why the Need for Customer Success

“Digital transformation may well turn out to be the single, biggest idea impacting humankind.”

          Inder Sidhu, The Digital Revolution: How Connected Digital Innovations Are Transforming Your Industry, Company & Career

Digital transformation may be a priority for the business, but legacy infrastructure means that IT likely has more pressing concerns. Upgrading the SAN, troubleshooting storage performance or trying to quickly deploy a new application detracts from strategic thinking about the business. The business is frustrated at IT’s inability to quickly bring out the innovative new services and offerings they need for their customers.

In desperation, organizations are turning to public cloud to get the agility they need. Some organizations, of course, think they will also reduce costs – at least until they begin getting exorbitant (and increasing) monthly invoices. Then they tend to pay still more money to move predictable workloads back on-premises.  

Nutanix brings the agility of the public cloud to the datacenter but with on-premises control and compliance and at a much lower cost. And the rate of Nutanix adoption has been tremendous. The lifetime purchases of Global 2000 customers, for example, that have owned Nutanix for over 18 months is nine times as much as their initial buy. But as impressive as this growth may be, it could be much higher still. Pending projects, daily fires and a lack of a broad organizational understanding of the benefits of enterprise cloud slow down broader implementation.

From Nutanix Fiscal Q2 18 Earnings Report

Inder Sidhu joined Nutanix last October as Executive Vice President of Customer Success. Customer success means different things to different organizations. Nutanix considers it the journey that customers travel from their first deployment of HCI technology all the way to Multi-Cloud.

While Nutanix enterprise cloud is extremely simple to deploy and operate, migrating from a complex 3-tier environment can require a lot of planning and work. The Customer Success division brings structure to the process while helping to remove the obstacles. If Nutanix does its job well, customers maximize both business advantages and cost savings  through the efficiencies of not just hyper-converged infrastructure, but of hyper-converged cloud.

Charting the Customer Success Journey

 

Digitally enabling the business requires that IT to undergo its own transformative journey. The first step is to modernize the datacenter and eliminate legacy hardware-defined infrastructure. At the journey’s end is multi-cloud. At this point, the customer enjoys a common operating model across all IT environments whether public cloud or on-premises.

A Customer Success Manager (CSM) sits at the heart of a technology adoption framework. She understands the customer’s goals and creates the roadmap and success metrics. She coordinates regular success plan reviews as well as best practices dissemination, new release information, training, etc. She also coordinates the framework elements: Operational Proficiency, Organizational Proficiency, and Financial Analysis.

Operational Proficiency (or never send a human to do a machine’s job). Operational proficiency means relinquishing adherence to manual processes and instead adopting enterprise cloud automation ranging from basics such as 1-click upgrades to leveraging APIs from the Nutanix Developer Network. Nutanix capabilities such as Prism-based health check monitoring, automated alerts and container services help smooth the transition from complex legacy to efficient multi-cloud. Proactive and preemptive operations including Prism-based capacity planning, Insights-based recommendations, event analysis and upgrade risk analysis become part of everyday operations.

Organizational Proficiency: Organizational proficiency starts with basic product knowledge and extends to infrastructure expertise and ultimately to application level expertise. Organizational proficiency includes using Nutanix Tools to implement business critical apps, DevOps and cloud workloads as well as Calm solutions, application deployment and application lifecycle management.

Financial Analysis: Financial analysis helps customers link the Nutanix value proposition to their business needs which in turn provides the context for how to optimize their journey to multi-cloud. It helps provide clarity around the costs, savings and business advantages of migrating away from complex 3-tier environments. It also assists customers in evaluating public cloud from a “rent vs. buy context”, giving them both the perspective and financial justification to determine which workloads should go public cloud vs. on-premises.

Customer Success Momentum

In my meetings with customers across the globe, I am surprised that a lack of IT perspective on the long-term future of the business seems to be the rule rather than the exception. That isn’t to say they don’t quickly grasp the importance. I received this email after one of my meetings:

Hi Steve,

It was nice to meet you yesterday. I was very encouraged by our discussions and that they weren’t dominated by the details of the technology and more about what the business wants to achieve strategically and how your solution may play a part in that. That approach definitely aligns with my way of thinking.

While the Customer Success division at Nutanix is still very young, it is already growing remarkably quickly. It is also highly influential – on par with that of Sales and Marketing. I am certain that it will be a big hit with our customers. IT organizations are not just ready, but eager, to transform.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are the author and not necessarily those of Nutanix, Inc. or any of its other employees or affiliates.

 

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