We consider the key trends that will define 2018’s key business challenges… Plagued by cyber-attacks and skills shortages...
He started by talking about the milestones we achieved in 2015, as well as what customers can expect to see from Sungard AS in the year ahead. Jack also discusses the three top challenges our customers face today and how they’ve been impacted by the digital revolution.
“I’d like our customers to know that Sungard Availability Services is uniquely able to support their complex, hybrid IT environments. We look to strike the perfect balance between standardization and tailoring to help our customers meet their business, technical, operational and commercial requirements.”
Q: Sungard Availability Services hit some major milestones in 2015. What were some of the year’s highlights?
Jack: 2015 was a great year for Sungard AS. We hit our stride as a truly global organization, reflected in our roadmap as well as our support, delivery and financial models and standardized pricing structure. So, customers do business with one service provider—Sungard AS—with no variance of how we deliver services, no matter where they’re located.
Financially, we’ve seen significant growth in the underlying solutions that deliver our fully recoverable production services. We saw our revenue profile shift significantly toward virtualized platforms in production and recovery, reflecting a change in the marketplace. By expanding beyond our strong legacy in recovery to provide fully recoverable production environments, more than half of our revenue in 2015 came from production services.
Our revenue growth comes from our position as a provider of hybrid IT, orchestrating all workload production and recovery into a single entity, and analysts are seeing us in that positive light. We placed in the leader’s quadrant both in Gartner’s Disaster Recovery as a Service Magic Quadrant, published April 21, 2015 and IDC’s Disaster Recovery as a Service North America MarketScape, published November 10, 2015. We were also named as a challenger in Gartner’s Data Center Outsourcing and Utility Infrastructure Services North America Magic Quadrant, published July 28, 2015. This speaks volumes about our ability to deliver hybrid IT.
Market opportunities are opening up as more customers embrace the cloud to deliver production services. In addition to our multi-tenant and dedicated cloud infrastructures for production, we provide robust cloud-based recovery capabilities, so our recovery as a service plays in that space. A key product launch was hosted private cloud, specifically for our strategic IT outsourcing partners. Also, as workloads migrate into third-party public clouds, we are positioned as a leading provider of public cloud capabilities to recover workloads in these environments.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges for companies today?
Jack: When it comes to a hybrid IT environment, the biggest challenge our customers have is discovery. Many customers are transitioning their IT environments from other service providers or outsourcing models. As they discover the nature of the applications and the business requirements these applications support, it calls for a new strategy for letting the workload define the infrastructure, not the other way around. The more dispersed the environment becomes, the more complex availability, recovery, and continuity becomes.
The good news is that businesses can leverage IT as a strategic asset and deliver results in a way that’s been difficult in the past, when they had to make considerable long-term, fixed-cost capital investments. Now, instead of making those investments, they can focus resources on leveraging the application to drive business results.
Q: How is Sungard AS enabling customers to address these challenges?
Jack: We apply a life-cycle approach, starting in the pre-sales process with a solutions-oriented, consultative session that identifies the business problems they need to solve. This gets translated into an end-to-end solution that is tied at the application layer, which in turn, links directly to the application’s architecture and back into our infrastructure to form an end-to-end delivery capability—all aligned with the desired business outcome.
We also focus on providing integrated solutions, configuring our capabilities with those of our strategic partners into a single solution for the customer. The traditional product-oriented approach no longer works with the complex business requirements customers have today. This differentiates us, because some our largest competitors still come to the market with a one-size-fits-all model.
This focus extends in our services investment strategy, as evidenced by offerings like Discovery and Dependency Mapping, and managed and recovery services on 3rd party cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Q: What else can customers look forward to seeing from Sungard AS as 2016 unfolds?
Jack: The solutions we deliver will support three core customer challenges: Managing a hybrid IT environment, which is the new norm; choosing the best infrastructure to optimize workloads and applications; and creating a highly available, fully recoverable environment for business continuity.
In 2016, to help customers overcome these challenges, we’ll expand our virtualization footprint to deliver a more robust set of capabilities for our cloud production environments. We’ll extend our recovery capabilities to include SAP HANA, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and more virtual environments that support EMC and NetApp and the globalization of these environments. We’ll also expand the scale of hosted private clouds globally, along with a portfolio of services we can deliver into AWS. All this gives customers new ways to address the challenges they face. It also enables us to truly become an orchestrator for, not only the workloads, but the services and the policies that manage the clouds those workloads run in.
Q: Anything more you’d like our customers to know?
Jack: I’d like our customers to know that Sungard Availability Services is uniquely able to support their complex, hybrid IT environments. We look to strike the perfect balance between standardization and tailoring to help our customers meet their business, technical, operational and commercial requirements. We are committed to fostering a real partnership – not just for today but for the long haul. And we do all this by leveraging our deep heritage in resiliency and availability to deliver fully recoverable production environments that keep their critical systems up and running every day.