Here at VMware, our expert services partners play an important role in helping our customers drive value with VMware solutions.
Today, we’d like to highlight SPJ Solutions, one of the many partners who provide outstanding support to VMware customers worldwide. Over the past several years, SPJ Solutions has carved out a role for itself in the partner ecosystem as VMware NSX Data Center deployment and operations experts. Our Director of Partner Sales, Dave Yow, sat down with Sudhansu “Suds” Pati, CTO, and Paul Wong, President of SPJ Solutions to ask them about the secret of their success.
Q: Tell us about how SPJ Solutions got started.
Paul: We started our practice about six years ago. It was Suds, me, and Jon Coss: S-P-J. Between the three of us, we have decades of experience in the IT industry, including a significant amount of time working for VMware. We’ve been around enough that we knew we needed to find something that would help our company stand out if we wanted to be successful.
VMware was just entering the market with NSX Data Center at the time. It seemed like a great opportunity for us to get in on the ground floor with a leading product for the future of software-defined networking.
Suds: Because we have a narrow focus, we can keep ourselves up to date more easily on the latest trends and technologies. This continuous education is how we keep up our rigorous standards. We have a 95% success rate from customers because we focus on their IT and business goals. We want to go above and beyond to make sure that we meet our customers’ objectives and they go away happy.
Q: It’s not just your high level of knowledge. You also developed cITopus, an automation and management tool for NSX Data Center. Tell me more about that.
Suds: One thing we learned quickly about NSX Data Center is that every deployment is different. Everyone has different data center environments, configurations, and mixes of vendors. We need to treat each customer as a unique engagement. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t use automation to make our jobs easier and faster for customers.
cITopus is the key to our scalability. We built in as much automation as we could, from best practices to custom assets for particular industries. For example, think of a standard such as HIPAA. Every customer that touches the healthcare industry will need to make sure that their deployment meets HIPAA standards. We can create assets that we use for all healthcare customers to meet those regulations and streamline our deployment times compared to traditional methods.
Paul: To give you an example, traditional micro-segmentation deployment might be a week-long engagement. We can get it done in a day by using cITopus. There was one instance where a customer had scheduled three days for a VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (AVI Networks) deployment; it took us just 45 minutes. That’s the secret sauce for us. We can get things done quickly and reliably, and that allows us to grow our business and engage more customers.
Q: You’re not just bringing value to customers. You also often work with other VMware partners to help them succeed.
Paul: That’s right. Our goal isn’t to compete with other VMware partners. We want to use our NSX Data Center expertise to lower the risk in a customer engagement by taking on high-level work for NSX Data Center deployments, performing NSX for vSphere (NSX-V) to NSX-T migrations, or even offering our experience through assessments and recommendations. We want the customer to walk away with a really great VMware experience.
Suds: I would say that as many as 70% of these customers end up purchasing an add-on deal, either for additional licenses or professional services. What happens is that we deploy NSX Data Center. The customer sees such immediate value in NSX Data Center that they take a closer look at our recommendations for deploying more VMware solutions. We had one deal where a partner asked us to help deliver micro-segmentation through NSX Data Center to multiple data centers. Between licensing and follow-on consulting, the customer signed an additional deal with the partner totaling more than one million dollars.
Q: We sometimes hear about customers who will purchase NSX Data Center but never really get full value from it. What are you doing to help customers get the most from their NSX Data Center deployments?
Suds: The best message that works with customers is “security.” Organizations want to take advantage of massive data interchanges and warehouses. They want to give workers remote access to systems so that they can work wherever and whenever. But this creates massive security risks. No environment is perfectly secure, and every bit of security that you can add to your network the better. It’s the easiest thing in the world to tell customers that with just a little bit extra time or money, we can make a huge difference to their security.
Paul: Another factor is the perception of complexity. Customers may want to use NSX Data Center, but they don’t know how to deploy it successfully by themselves. That’s where we come in. We create a plan. We show them how to get the tools and knowledge in place that they need to increase adoption. It sometimes involves purchasing cITopus, because cITopus gives them a very graphical, user-friendly way to understand and run the NSX Data Center environment.
Q: What’s next for SPJ Solutions?
Paul: Next year we’re projecting a big rise in NSX-V to NSX-T migrations. We did about 50 last year, and we’re projecting about 100 this year. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can bring more value to our partners and customers with each new version of cITopus as well.
Visit SPJ Solutions for more information on how to work with them on your next NSX deployment.
-Paul Wong, President and Sudhansu Pati, CTO, SPJ Solutions
-Dave Yow, Director Partner Sales, VMware