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Simplicity and the Power of Brave Decisions

Chris Lamborn

power-of-brave-decisions-e1582566495200-1024x532 In recent months, the whole NetApp team has been talking about simplicity—about our commitment to making it easier for our partners to do business with NetApp, whether it’s streamlining our product offerings or the processes around how partners deliver quotes, products, and services to their customers. The result is something simple that we call Keystone, which I’ll come back to shortly. First, though, I want to talk about where our focus on simplicity comes from and why it matters so much to me—and to NetApp.

How many decisions do you make every day?

As our team explored how to put simplicity into action, it was clear how much the concept resonated with everyone. From product choices to paperwork, life is already complicated enough. No matter who we are, where we work, or what we buy, we are all human, and the decisions we’re called upon to make in our daily lives have becoming overwhelmingly numerous and complex.

According to some hotly debated statistics, each person makes approximately 35,000 decisions every day. Even if that number is off by an order of magnitude, we each spend a phenomenal amount of energy just deciding things, whether those decisions are big, small, or somewhere in between.

The truth is, we have more options in our lives than ever before, forcing us to make more and more choices. I can ask Alexa or Siri what the temperature is outside. I can do research on my mobile phone about something I want to buy, and I can do it inside a football stadium while I watch the San Francisco 49ers and post photos to Instagram from the game. I can price shop between brand stores and Amazon, and I can check my bank balances to decide which payment card to use. Then I can reply to a tweet from my boss, who still insists on cheering for the Packers.

What makes decision-making easier?

That means that I get wickedly annoyed if the Wi-Fi connection is slow, my battery goes flat, or a website crashes mid-sale. The fact remains: I value having the freedom to make choices, and I expect to have seamless access to the information I need to make decisions, as well as the ability to easily execute those decisions. 

Whether at home or at work, we’re all traversing multiple areas in multiple spaces at multiple speeds. We need effective ways to manage the onslaught of information without compromising our ability to get the information we need, when we need it. Naturally, I choose to engage with providers who facilitate that process for me, because clearly, I have enough going on. In my view, what drives businesses to simplify isn’t so different from how we organize the rest of our lives.

What gets in the way of confident decision-making?

Companies also value choice. They crave information. They need to make confident decisions about the direction of their business, especially when they face big decisions that cut to the heart of digital transformation, and they need the ability to access relevant information easily.

Every pause and every barrier makes life just a little bit more complicated. Companies don’t want to wait, and most won’t. Research demonstrates that organizations prioritize vendors and partners who are easy to do business with. Today, our own experience and the experience of our partners reflects that. Our last Partner Experience Survey clearly showed that partner profitability and ease of doing business go hand in hand. That is why simplicity is such a big deal and why it matters so much to NetApp.

So far, our efforts are hitting the mark, and we’re proud of what we have achieved. We were named a leader in the 2019 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Primary Storage. In addition, we recently won CRN Product of the Year awards for market driven enhancements to both our AFF A800 and AFF A320, and we received the CDW Partner of the Year award based on outstanding partner support. We accomplished these things by listening to those we serve. 

How can we support a future full of brave decisions?

Many of NetApp’s partner owners have been with NetApp since our inception as a company more than 25 years ago. As we have grown, we have made brave decisions, including our Data Fabric strategy, which continues to drive innovation at NetApp. At the same time, we have grown to help our partners make brave decisions of their own. Our partners trust us to listen, and it’s our duty to respond.

As we move into a cloud-first world, our partners and customers continue to make big transformations in an increasingly complex world. These can be make or break moments for businesses, and our partners deserve to be confident in the providers they choose, the solutions they offer, and how they deliver them, so they can keep making brave decisions that fuel success. I see it as our job to make that process as simple as possible. 

When you bring simplicity to your business, life becomes easier for everyone. That’s what NetApp delivers with new products like NetApp Keystone, which simplifies how customers operate in the hybrid multi-cloud environment, both from a technology and financial perspective, with streamlined product offerings and a simplified ordering process. It provides the information you need, when you need it, without making things complicated.

What does simplicity mean to your business? If you’re a partner, be sure to complete our Partner Experience Survey, and please don’t be shy about telling me what you need—I’m listening and we are demonstrating how previous feedback has driven many improvements. 

Chris Lamborn

Chris Lamborn joined NetApp in November 2015 & is currently Head of WW Partner GTM and Programs. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s Global Channel go-to-market strategy and the supporting programs and investments. NetApp’s Channel Partner eco-system forms the foundation of the business, supporting and contributing over 75% of the company’s revenue. Chris is a respected leader with extensive experience working with global partners and proven success in partnering to deliver incremental revenue and profitability. His detailed understanding of the multiple Partner business practices and experience of working with operations, marketing, finance across the world ensures predictable, relevant and profitable business partnerships. Prior to NetApp, Chris held distribution leadership positions at Brocade, Avaya and Nortel and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kingston University in the UK and he moved to permanently to California in 2016.

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