Proof Points – The Need to Show Operational Transformation AND Substantial Savings

Given that this is budget season, for the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing some observations of how IT organizations are dealing with the need to transform their operations while working within constrained budgets.

We speak with lots of customers and potential customers every day. But first we listen. For us, these conversations are a great source of practical understanding. Best of all, they often advance or confirm some new or nuanced idea. Sharing that learning among colleagues and with other customers has become a satisfying way to increase the benefit to all of us.

For example, we heard from one customer how, after their Actifio deployment, plans for additional storage had evaporated. Actifio was installed in tandem with a storage upgrade but in the end they were way over the required capacity. In fact, they needed terabytes less than the previous environment. So storage was re-deployed to another planned application upgrade and a costly purchase was averted. In the midst of this they also realized how much simpler the old-to-new storage transition would be when they used Actifio for the data migration. In fact it’s now become their standard means of moving data around.

proof pointsWe hear that a lot, storage requirements rapidly declining and migrations becoming easier as soon as Actifio is put in the mix. It speaks to our ability to reclaim or recalibrate expenses that would otherwise be wasted. That helps because of the truism of nearly all IT budgets: “Do more with less.” There’s never more budget for IT and that energizes sustained searches for better ways to operate. It makes the ranks of CIOs and CTOs and even CEOs open to new thinking and even transformational change.

There’s a catch though. First there has to be an emphatic statement in the business case that demonstrates how they’ll get to an exceptional outcome. And it has to be positive in operational efficiency as well as savings.

That is, we have to prove it.

The CIO of a very old, far-flung and conservative manufacturing business (“We still wear jackets and ties every day.”) put it this way: “My budget is 100% committed. But I have unlimited willingness to look at something that is going to save me money. I’ll gladly reallocate to a verified business case if you can demonstrate solid advantages.”

That energizes us to produce the convincing proof. And we tailor it to their specific environment.
Now think of this same phenomenon being modeled against a huge Oracle environment. This is a major financial services firm with business that spans continents and petabytes. And their attitude matched the stodgy old-line manufacturer: “Prove it.”

This is where it always gets tricky, especially for an operation of this size. That’s because at this scale the potential for savings is in the millions. It’s not a band-aid but a true transformation and transformations always draw skeptics, detractors and naysayers. It’s a disruptive unknown and not just a little frightening. So the modeling has to be very convincing.

At the outset, the savings and benefits of VMware virtualization were scary for some and maybe a bit of almost unbelievable. But the persuading was done and the IT world changed. We often cite this as parallel to the Actifio story – to the benefits we bring through data virtualization. Even more impactful when extended across an enterprise. It quickly becomes a compelling opportunity that can’t be ignored.

We have to give full credit and thanks here to our talented field force. They are the ones who dig into the details. They know how to construct the comprehensive, compelling before-and-after models. They construct the proof of concept demonstrations and connect potential clients to existing customers that happily point to specific and credible proof. Talking to established customers who’ve seen the impact first hand always seems to calm the cynical waters.

So, back to that multi petabyte Oracle environment. Its been expanding at 15% a year. In five years it’s projected to more than double. Deploying Actifio will create a new storage baseline at half the current capacity. It’ll take five years before they need as much as the current storage footprint again. Practically speaking they could stop buying storage for the next five years. Factor in the added benefits in operating costs, licenses, maintenance and environmentals and you begin to see the geometric potential across the whole IT infrastructure.