NetApp has vowed to become far more aggressive in its marketing activities as it looks to return to growth and fight off competition.
At its Partners and Pathways summit in Budapest – which had a battle theme to coincide with its new strategy – the vendor said it was not happy with its flat revenue, and as a result has to come out fighting to win more business.
For its latest fiscal year, which ended 25 April, NetApp's net revenue stood at $6.33bn (£3.77bn) – the same as the year before.
Dave Allen, NetApp's general manger for northern EMEA, admitted that the company may have been distracted from growth by creating what he claims it the firm's best technology portfolio yet.
"We took criticism around the perception of innovation and pace and if you look at all the things going on, this is a portfolio that if you compared it with three or four years ago, it [has] transformed," he told CRN.
"Don't tell me there is no innovation – there is massive innovation there. But we have been so busy innovating and so busy getting the infrastructure ready and making sure the quality of all the things is where it needs to be to fight the fight, we've possibly just not been fighting the fight as often as we need to.
"We're gaining share but the revenue position is not where we want it to be so we have got to get focused back on that top-line growth."
But he insisted the firm is on the offensive from now on.
"Now we come out and [the] guns are blazing, the capes are on and the pants are on the outside!" he said.
"We're letting the beast out and we're doing it because we are confident. The portfolio we have – in my personal view, and I've been here nine years at NetApp – is the best product-, service- and customer-ready portfolio we have ever had.
"It's not a portfolio I would swap with anybody. What you see now is confidence and attitude and you're going to see more of it. We're going to have some fun along the way but be under no illusion: we are going to win this."
NetApp's senior vice president for global partner sales and alliances Thomas Stanley said NetApp had been much more mild-mannered in the past.
"Our culture has been as long as our customers and partners and stakeholders feel like they are getting what they need, we will give it to them," he said. "But right now they need us to be far more vocal and far more aggressive – and we are doing that. It's going to be intense."
Flash of aggression
NetApp said its new-found bullish attitude came from both confidence in its own portfolio and pressure from competitors – particularly flash startups, many of which have been keen to sling mud at their larger rivals.
NetApp claims to have shipped more flash technology in the last quarter than everyone else combined, and its chief marketing officer Julie Parish said this fact alone drove the firm to speak up about its achievements.
"The flash startups have kind of put us in a position where we are like ‘wait a second – we just shipped 18 petabytes last quarter!'" she said. "We are shipping so much more than any of those guys are and our funding level is so much higher.
"Maybe [our new attitude] is a little bit of a competitive response in order to put the flash startups into context. That's where customers can lose context and the market can lose context.
"New, young startups are an interesting story but if in reality, some of the mainstream vendors are actually shipping more flash and have higher levels of innovation, we need to tell that more strongly. It is a good reminder – like ‘oh wait a second, we can do this!"
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