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NetApp Wins Microsoft’s Global Customer Experience Partner of the Year Award

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James Whitemore
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“When you’re completing a survey and asked to rank a supplier out of 10 and you give them all 10’s, people are suspect, but in the case of NetApp, it’s true.”

- Vladislav Malicevic, Vice President of Development, Cloud Operations and Support, Jedox

Today is a day of celebration for NetApp and for our customers. Being recognized as an organization that is “dedicated to building and responding to customer interactions in a way that meets or exceeds customer needs, expectations, and satisfaction,” is humbly, yet truthfully, not too surprising to me as NetApp’s Chief Marketing Officer. I proudly watch our teams go above and beyond to meet customer needs every day. Being called out for it by Microsoft on a global stage in front of our colleagues and peers is extremely rewarding. To our customers, this says: “you are, and always have been, our priority.”

A data-driven award

What is particularly satisfying about this recognition is that it is, like us, data driven. The submission response required metrics and analysis across multiple customer touchpoints, in-person interviews, survey results and more. Microsoft told us they received over 4,000 submissions for this year’s prestigious global competition and we know the bar was high. In particular, the questions and responses for the Customer Experience Award covered every aspect of what we call “the customer buying journey.” From investigation and discovery, through to sales and post-sales support. This means that our more than 10,000 NetApp employees around the world contributed to our first place standing. Well done team. You are amazing.

While the interviews and content in the submission itself are confidential, I thought I would share with you some of the themes that came across as surveys and interviews were completed by independent agencies on our behalf.

Specialist service, not sales

The overwhelming sentiment from the individuals surveyed were that they did not feel like NetApp was ever selling to them. The feedback highlighted that our teams were genuinely interested in solving business problems and focused always on doing what is right to ensure our customers get exactly what they need, from technology through to budget considerations. This is at the heart of our culture and reflects our customer-first approach in everything we do.

Innovation in real time

NetApp is an engineering company and engineers love to solve problems more than anything else. Our customers shared stories of NetApp teams always going above and beyond at every customer touchpoint, often solving challenges in real time and helping eliminate unexpected technical obstacles. One cloud architect told us that NetApp had participated in their weekly scrum for several weeks, at no charge, to ensure their mission-critical cloud migration was successful. He concluded that the knowledge and expertise brought by NetApp to those meetings saved them hundreds of hours in trial and error because they were navigating uncharted territory that was poised to transform their business and their industry.

At the leading edge of cloud

We received a lot of feedback around our cloud offerings. One client pointed out that NetApp has taken our tier one data management capabilities into the cloud through our own product development as well as through strategic acquisition of key cloud players. This customer in particular felt that he had bet on the right partner with NetApp. His opinion? NetApp has the best roadmap for the cloud for every enterprise, small and large.

The wrap up

While we are delighted with this honor and will make time during Microsoft Inspire to celebrate as a company, we will not be resting on our laurels. Winning Microsoft’s Global Customer Experience Partner of the Year Award is simply a marker on our journey of helping customers transform with confidence. We have new frontiers to explore, new challenges to navigate and maybe even a few more awards to win. Thank you, Microsoft. Thank you to our valued customers. Thank you partner channel and thank you NetApp teams. We are in this together and it shows.

Learn more about our partnership with Microsoft here.

James Whitemore

James Whitemore is the Chief Marketing Officer at NetApp. He is responsible for advancing the company’s global marketing strategy and strengthening market recognition to accelerate growth. As a veteran of the cloud computing, networking and storage industry, James has more than 25 years of experience leading and implementing successful global sales, product management and marketing strategies. A key part of the team since joining NetApp via the SolidFire acquisition in early 2016, James has been central to the development and execution of our Marketing strategy to reposition NetApp from storage to data and the cloud. In his previous role as VP of Field & Demand Marketing at NetApp, James built and led a modern demand engine as well as managed Field and Partner Marketing, Demand Centers, Global Campaigns, Event Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social, Influence and Community Marketing. As CMO at SolidFire, James led the mission to advance the way the world uses cloud and was responsible for all corporate, product, and field marketing functions. Prior to SolidFire, James has led sales and marketing functions in cloud orientated start-up companies holding a variety of sales and marketing positions in Europe, Asia and the U.S. with SAVVIS, Sun Microsystems, IBM, StorageTek and Standard Telephones and Cables. James holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from Northumbria University in the UK.

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