Rackspace claims early wins, 'solid' pipeline of opportunities in New Zealand
- 22 November, 2020 19:15
Ian Kerr (Rackspace)
Setting up shop in a new country during a pandemic presented a few challenges for Rackspace Technology, but the company is claiming early customer wins.
Country manager Ian Kerr told Reseller News that as with many organisations, Rackspace NZ had to change the way it engaged with people and built relationships.
"The new normal made having face-to-face meetings difficult, or in some cases impossible. But as time passed, Zoom and Microsoft Teams became an open forum for our customers, prospects and partners to learn more about the company, its expansion plans and its technologies and capabilities," Kerr said.
"It was refreshing to learn the New Zealand market was open to having conversations with Rackspace Technology, given we were quite new here."
Virtual has its benefits
Kerr, who was hired out of Microsoft NZ where he led the vendor's relationship with Datacom, said he'd had four to five virtual meetings a day with customers.
"I probably wouldn’t have been able to pre-COVID because our customers are spread all across the country," he said.
Working remotely also allowed him to embed himself further within the company, to get to know his fellow "Rackers" and dig deep into the value proposition and the technologies offered.
"While the global pandemic has probably slowed things down a bit, we’ve had some great wins across the board – from the quality of new deals coming in and the relationships we’re building with our existing customers, through to hiring new people to support our accelerated growth," Kerr said.
"If there is one statement to describe the activity in the market, it’s that many organisations out there are looking for a change."
Infrastructure gaps revealed
The pandemic led many to realise there were the gaps in their IT infrastructure or the services their current technology partners provided and they needed to move quickly to address these.
Customers were open to new ideas around technology solutions that don’t disrupt their business, but help them realise value faster.
"I think this is where they see Rackspace Technology can help, in providing deep, quality expertise but also, the competence and the trust that these organisations need from a partner during this transition," Kerr said.
The local business has a "very solid and exciting pipeline of opportunities", he added. It already claims more than 120, including Kathmandu and Carters, many predating the company's arrival on local shores.
Deepening vendor relationships
Rackspace NZ has also been working to deepen its relationships partners in New Zealand, including Microsoft, AWS, Google and VMware who, Kerr said, had embraced the company's arrival in the local market.
"We’ve brought them along with us on the planning journey, looking at what customer targets we should approach together and what solutions we might help them with," he said.
"There have been discussions around how to leverage existing programs and initiatives, all the way through to execution and the level of support required for these moves."
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Customers and prospects had been asking about accelerating their work from home initiatives, but that was not as simple as giving employees a phone or a laptop and getting them up and running.
"There’s a great deal of work that’s required to ensure that the applications and technologies teams are accessing work as seamlessly as they do in the office," Kerr said.
"We’re seeing these types of customers move to the cloud very quickly but there is also a key need to do comprehensive planning to make sure it is done right – and I believe this is the missing link."
Many organisations don’t have the resources they need to ensure that immediately available so they are looking to technology partners like Rackspace to help.
Building a local team
Hiring has been one priority for the market entry, with Kerr pointing to Matt House joining Rackspace's local team as business development manager as a recent example.
"He’s an excellent asset to our business," Kerr said. "He is extremely well respected in the local market and has a very deep understanding of cloud and the opportunity cloud presents for organisations today.
"He's had the opportunity to get up to speed on Rackspace and its offerings while working remotely and has hit the ground running.
"There’s no shortage of leads and opportunities that we’ve got coming through the business, whether it’s from a the fantastic marketing engine we’ve got or whether it’s a new business leads from existing relationships and existing customers," he added.
COVID is accelerating the shift to the cloud and customers and prospects are now realising they need to control and optimise these environments.
"For us as their partner, what this means is that we need to understand what we’re trying to achieve collectively and to provide sound advice on navigating their move," Kerr said.
"We’re also seeing a lot of customers reviewing how they can move applications to SaaS [software-as-a-service] or other PaaS [platform-as-a-service] platforms.
"They need to be really considered in their approach as this type of decision-making requires bringing the business units, leadership and technology teams together and solidifying what the business actually needs."