Pure Storage has said 2016 will be the year its international operations boom and catch up with its US business.
In its Q4, 79 per cent of Pure's business came from the US, meaning the rest of the world accounted for just a small portion of its revenue. But according to Pure's vice president for global channels, Michael Sotnick, who spoke to CRN at Pure Accelerate in San Francisco, that should level out this year.
"If I look at where [US] partners' business was in 2013 to 2014 and then the growth from 2014 to 2015, I see a mirror image of that [growth] internationally [this year]," he said. "That was a big year of growth in North America and I feel like we are going to see very promising results for international markets in 2016.
"Last quarter we were 79 per cent in the US, which is a significant piece of the business. But growth is high everywhere, which is the exciting part.
He said Europe will be a key region in achieving this goal.
"We use distributors internationally and sell [though] one tier in North America," he said.
"I lived in Maidenhead for two years and know the UK well, and I managed a Europe-wide business so I spent a lot of time in Paris and Munich, but also travelled through the Nordics, where they are very progressive and embrace technology quickly. The Swiss are very pragmatic and once they understand technology, we have a lot of success and momentum. We're seeing a lot of success in those areas. You couldn't miss the Dutch folks here [at the event] in their national colour – they are having a lot of success with Pure. So that's some of the momentum we're getting internationally."
Pure Storage does not disclose the number of partners it works with globally or regionally, but Sotnick said that quality is more important than quantity.
"We talk about it as a scarcity model, not an abundance model," he said.
We really want to focus on the right partners – we are adding new partners all the time"
"But we are also reviewing partners who have signed on with us who haven't achieved a level of success that they'd thought or haven't achieved the level of success that we'd thought. We go and engage with them and say 'what's changed in your business?' In this industry, companies get acquired, people leave [and so on] – there's that dynamic in our partner companies.
"We talk about getting the right partners and then we look at how many sales people inside that partner are actively succeeding with Pure. That's an important metric. And then we look at that partner's growth rate. We just finished Q4 and we grew 128 per cent [annually]. We look at our partners and say 'are you benchmarking at our growth rate? Are you growing faster? Are you growing slower?' Then we dig to find out what we can be doing better to support them."
He said that measuring partners' growth is "one of many metrics" it tracks among partners, along with the number of staff accreditations a firm has and their overall understanding of its product.
The company has boasted that 100 per cent of its sales are done through partners throughout its Pure Accelerate event. Sotnick would not confirm that this will be the case indefinitely, but said in the foreseeable future, partners will get their hands on all deals.
"Right now that's our strategy," he said. "The discussions we have begin every time with the expectation that we are 100 per cent channel. As a company in tech, no matter what you're talking about, it is always a bit hard to say what's going to be [the case] in five years' time, but the conversations from Dietz [Scott Dietzen, Pure's chief executive] and our board, when we talk about go-to-market [it is channel first]."
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