Partner Insights

Connecting the Edge to the Cloud with NTT

As the business market inches back to normalcy, our partners remain committed to purposeful evolution and delivery excellence, meeting the needs of their customers. Recently, Rich Steeves sat down with Aditya Afzulpurkar, Senior Vice President of Global Services Alliances at NTT Ltd., in a virtual ‘coffee chat’ to learn how NTT Ltd. has grown into a world leader in providing the right technology to their clients and communities.

NTT’s Vision

NTT Ltd. (part of a $100bn NTT Group) is a multi-billion-dollar global technology services company focused on delivering services to clients with a presence in 57 countries. Over the last year, NTT has been on a journey, integrating 31 businesses under one brand – NTT Ltd. Aditya is a part of NTT Ltd., which focuses on regions outside of Japan and covers variety of services – Consulting, Implementation and Support Services, Managed Services, Network and Communications Services and Data Centre Services. NTT Ltd. is the third largest player in the data center space globally, has a massive network backbone, as well as large cloud communications and services businesses. NTT’s overall company vision is to connect the edge to the cloud, using infrastructure that is both intelligent and secure.

NTT has the ability to help clients move workloads to Public and Private Clouds along with the connectivity and the SD-WAN capabilities to optimize the connection between the cloud and the edge. Given our heritage, we have the ability to manage the networking and cybersecurity aspects to deliver a seamless and secure service.” – Aditya Afzulpurkar

Aditya’s Journey

Twelve years ago, Aditya began his journey with NTT when he began working for Datacraft Asia, a company owned by Dimension Data in Asia primarily focused on IT services. After spending a few years with the strategy team in Asia, Aditya wanted to get into a more ‘front line’ role interfacing with either partners or clients.

“One of the areas our then-CEO handed over to the Strategy team was to manage the key alliances. We needed someone who could talk to our partners about the vision / strategic plans understand where to make joint investments, and ultimately build a relationship with them vis-à-vis discussing only tactical opportunities and programs.”

In 2017, Aditya took on a global role focused on partners with the aim of driving the NTT Services strategy in collaboration with partners. Aditya says, “Traditionally the focus has been we’ll sell more of the product and services will be attached. As we started to go into the world of managed services, the motions are different. You don’t need to sell the product to get the attached service. You’re actually selling a managed service that pulls through the product.”

Customer Needs and Challenges

NTT has focused on addressing multiple clients pain points:  

  1. The management of their software and hardware estate and the inability to get a full view across both.
  2. Another challenge is managing the multi-cloud environments and determining what should move to the cloud and what should be kept on premise.

Key Areas of Focus for NTT

Consequently, NTT’s two key areas of focus are helping clients in their transformation journey by:

  1. Adopting a hybrid approach to cloud adoption
  2. Supporting clients in the shift from hardware to software.

For most of 2020, NTT worked diligently to cement their cloud partnerships with key players, such as VMware and Microsoft, and embed it as part of the managed services go-to-market.  With VMware specifically, NTT Ltd. is focused on joint GTM with the Software-Defined Private Cloud offering. This is a particularly ‘sweet spot’ for NTT Ltd. as it not only has the capabilities to help manage hybrid cloud environments for clients, but also can provide Data Centre services and the secure connectivity for clients to access the cloud.

In addition, the traditional Support Services business was changing as technology partners such as Cisco started to focus increasingly on software – this is where NTT’s Software-Defined Infrastructure offer came into play. According to Aditya, “The reality is that clients still want a partner to help with support whether it’s hardware or software assets. What they have traditionally had is a disjointed view of hardware and software assets. We are trying to simplify that for clients with software-defined infrastructure. So, you have a view of hardware and software assets that NTT supports all across the spectrum.”

Aditya further elaborated, “When you come to NTT for support, you have one view, whether its networking or compute or cybersecurity, and a view of your entire licensing estate. This is what we want to give clients.” Software-Defined infrastructure and the role it plays in insights and data is only successful when the right people are talking to customers. NTT has heavily invested in Customer Success practices, which allows clients to make informed decisions on adopting the power of various software features that technology partners offer.

Co-Innovation and Co-Development

Aditya emphasized that the business world is moving into an area where programs and partnerships are being created ‘on the fly.’ The sharing of resources and joint investment from partners collectively yields the most opportunities.  Co-innovation with partners is unique and requires a different level of effort yet allows for the best possible offering to customers.

“Let’s invest resources by saying: How do we craft an offer that works for you and for us? The conversation has shifted to me asking for resources from the partner’s side and me committing resources from my side, to obtain telemetry and data on customers, using this to drive an up-sell motion within my base. Similarly, we are focused on co-innovation around the Software Defined Private Cloud offer with VMware where both sides have invested in architects to develop a compelling offer to the market.” – Aditya Afzulpurkar

Resonation with Customers through Solutions

The way that NTT has been able to make specific use cases come alive, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been admirable. COVID-19 increased the need for replicable services or platform services such as virtual conferencing or collaboration tools enabling businesses to operate virtually and deliver their respective solutions to customers. Fortunately, NTT brought together two internal key organizations right before the start of the pandemic to meet the rising demand.

The ability to meet customer challenges in the face of a world disaster is remarkable, and it shows how NTT did a fantastic job adapting to change. NTT and VMware have similar views of the world and a great respect for their customers’ success. We are looking forward to the continued development of the NTT and VMware relationship and seeing limitless growth and industry transformation from both sides separately and together. 

For additional opportunities and targeted promotions that NTT is driving with their customers, please visit the links below:

For more information about Business Continuity efforts and Lifecycle Services from VMware:

Rich Steeves
Sr. Director, Lifecycle Services
Worldwide Partner & Commercial Organization

rsteeves@vmware.com

Comments

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  1. Even before the pandemic broke out, NTT had been working hard to upgrade some of the jigsaw puzzle key elements of the technology platform behind the digital innovations in the annual cycling event.

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