In this Marketing in Challenging Times video, Christopher Cummings, CMO at Datera, discusses maintaining mission focus and meeting the challenge of lost “hands-on” moments in these difficult times with Mark Peters.
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Mark: As I've talked about before in this series, clearly there's a lot of angst and change going on in the world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Today, I'm joined by Chris Cummings, from Datera. He is the CMO there. And I thought, Chris, it would be great to start with, you know, specifically what's changed or what's happening to Datera as a result of the current situation.
So, thanks for being here, and over to you.
Chris: You bet. Thank you. Yeah, I think when you think about what's going on in the industry, obviously, everyone's looking for the bright side of the future, and right now, it's really up to the strong to sort of survive. But at the same time, if you are like we are, and there are many that are in this category, that are trying to disrupt an overall industry, you can't let these blips, and let's hope this is a blip, get in the way of your overall mission.
And so, our team is just keeping focused on making sure our customers are super successful with the risk that they're taking by moving to a new technology category.
Mark: I know you're finding you can still get the basics of work done. Obviously, meetings are virtualized, that sort of thing, travel's restricted, but you can still talk to those people to evaluate whether or not they want to go with Datera, yes?
Chris: You know, I think it's a tale of two cities. On the one hand, I think we're getting a lot more ability to reach people early in the process and to get them started on the thinking process, you know, infusing them with the right questions to be asking, and the way to think about things. However, when it comes down to it, taking a risk on a new technology category requires, you know, hands on.
And so, that hands-on ability obviously is compromised in this time to time.
Mark: So how do you overcome that? How do you do that hand-holding remotely, virtually?
Chris: Yeah, so, well, we're using Zoom here, you know, as a way of communicating, and we've been on doing that type of thing, where we're walking people virtually through how to get started, either using these kinds of technologies, and then for those that are sort of started down the process, it's going back, it's reviewing with them kind of mano-a-mano the results that they're getting, and then talking about the twists and tweaks and turns that they can make in order to achieve better outcomes, whether that's performance or availability, or whatever their particular dimension is that they want to maximize.
Mark: Okay, so it sounds as if you're finding your way through it. Now, it's fair to say that you and I have known each other a long time now, and one of the things I've always been impressed by is your ability to think broadly about the industry. So I'll give you the last minute or so here to talk about what you see as the more wide business impacts right now, both now and longer term.
Chris: I think we're seeing another key point on the journey of the change in what's happening in corporate IT. So, you look at, say, for instance, hardware forecasts for this year, and projecting out. You know, they're going down and down and down. And that's because that whole basis of competing is really commoditized.
And so, it goes back to, to me, it goes back to a little bit of Marc Andreessen from 2010, talking about software is eating the world. And it's eating every element. We know that from, you know, every aspect of our daily lives. But it's also coming right back around to IT as well.
Mark: And you think that will be not just a blip, but something that is part of a continued trend?
Chris: I think it's absolutely part of a continued trend, and I think there's just, it's undeniable the ability you get in terms of not only achieving a better cost outcome, but also being able to get the kind of agility and flexibility that you're looking for. You cannot achieve that in a hardware profile. And I think that's coming, you know, we see that dramatically coming in the networking area, we see that, obviously at the compute layer of the stack, and storage, you know, tends to be, as you've noted many times, tends to be the last to move.
But, it's moving.
Mark: Yeah. Well, thank you very much for your thoughts. I love the way that there's a little subtle Datera message in there, too. But, I must say that I share your thoughts that this will only actually accelerate something that was already on the move. Chris, thank you very much for your time.
Chris: Thank you.