Spectra 3.0 – Rising above the Q’s and O’s

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by Brian Grainger, Senior VP Worldwide Sales

After 12 years at Spectra Logic, and the last four running worldwide sales, I've learned that it can take an entire team of people and countless hours to select the theme for our annual worldwide sales kickoff. (Fiscal year 2013 kickoff was recently held the week of July 8th at our headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.) This year, I knew exactly what the theme should be but I had trouble pinpointing a catchy name to summarize it. At dinner in May, "Spectra 3.0" was suggested, and the title of my theme cemented.

The goal of a yearly theme is to illustrate our business units' alignment with our associates, then take that message to the market. However, the theme must have substance—otherwise it may be perceived as rhetoric crafted to please shareholders, venture capitalists, and even customers (a Q and O move).

So what is "Spectra 3.0"? Let me offer what has happened the past year (Fiscal Year 2012) before I give you a glimpse of what Spectra 3.0 has in store over the next 12 months and beyond.

  • Record sales growth in Europe, Canada, LATAM including strong growth in other areas of the world
  • Record sales in customer retention, a steady trend for the past dozen years
  • Record number of net new customers worldwide
  • Five years of continued profitability
  • Closed the largest customer (NCSA) in company history and most likely the largest archive opportunity in the industry for FY12 (Read the press release here.)
  • Closed the 2nd largest customer in company history (Based in Mexico- stay tuned for details)
  • Core business units had record growth in all areas

    • Federal
    • Media & Entertainment
    • General IT
    • High-performance computing
  • Molly Rector, CMO, named to the Board of Directors for SNIA
  • Betsy Doughty, Director Channel Development, named in CRN Power 100
  •  Increased number of our worldwide channel partners to a record 550+
  • Spectra's TFinity and T950 named The Best in Class libraries (of 66 libraries from 8 vendors) in DCIG's 2012 Big Data Tape Library Buyer's Guide
  • Customers cite Spectra's support, product reliability, scalability and high-density design as top competitive differentiators in a recent study conducted and published by The Taneja Group

The inspiration for this update struck me while sitting in a hotel lobby in Singapore last week. I was visiting Southeast Asia to not only sponsor a large EMC event but also to build on my worldwide expansion plans.

The Spectra 3.0 Vision

If we aren't growing, we are slipping behind. Spectra's sales force expansion will continue to move forward with Spectra 3.0 sales initiatives, including:

  • Currently have customers in almost 50 countries globally.

    • During the next 18 months, we will have increased our global presence by 20%, starting in Singapore
  • In July, Spectra launched an entirely new sales organization that will focus exclusively on Small and Medium Enterprise customers' needs; and a second division dedicated to large Enterprise accounts. This will increase customer touch points exponentially, and continue to fine-tune our niche expertise in both the SME and Large Enterprise backup and archive marketplaces.
  • We will continue to introduce ground breaking products during the next 12 months. Stay tuned!
  • SpectraGuard Support has built a 24×7 worldwide infrastructure in-house at our WW HQ in Boulder, CO

    • We can now reach any customer in any country worldwide with phone and on-site support.
    • Our support department is the only in the industry to offer Storage Crisis Lifeline, where we loan a library to any customer affected by a natural disaster to help restore operations quickly—free of charge.
  • Spectra Corporate will continue the high level of investment in the tape market. To name a few:

    • Active Archive Alliance
    • IDC HPC User initiatives
    • Tape Summit 2012 (ExecEvent)
    • Various Webinars, events, and research projects with industry analysts

How to build a successful and profitable business:
There are two ways to build a business.

  • Q's and O's 1.0

    • Lawsuits to fund business operations
    • Increase customer maintenance costs
    • Occasional release of tape features and product(s) supporting the enterprise community
    • Lower R&D for the sake of company profit
    • Reduction in customer touch points (sales, engineers, service) for the sake of company profit
    • Take business from the channel that partners fought hard to build
    • Have a "flip flop" positioning on tape (whichever side will earn them an extra buck that day)
  • Spectra 3.0

    • Continue to release the most innovative features that are also the most timely/relevant to our customers
    • Continue large investment in emerging markets geographically
    • Invest in go-to-market strategy worldwide that increase customer touch points
    • Significant investment in new vertical markets
    • Industry only "Guaranteed support costs"- Spectra Service PriceLock
    • Offer new financial models to purchase products
    • Continued investments with Industry leading partners such as EMC, SGI, CSC, Lockheed Martin, HDS and many others.
    • Spectra's culture has always been "The customer comes first". This mantra will continue throughout the life of the company.

Tape is alive and well…
After 20+ years in storage, I've watched certain companies try and drive the "tape is dead" angle home to customers (who discover it's not a reality), and then retreat on their position.  I would encourage end users to ask vendors for supporting material when they are told that tape's dead.

The tape industry comprises more than $2.5b annually and I speak to customers around the world (many Global 1000) and they seem to understand the value of tape as we do. Analysts, Media and our Industry Partners all share the same message: Tape will always have a place in the archive environment. Best practices of density, energy, disaster recovery and overall OPEX cost will always be top of the mind of CIO's around the globe. Tape has a proven history and a clear, critical role in the foreseeable backup and archiving world's future.

Thank you to all of Spectra's customers and partners who helped make Spectra successful in FY12.