#CounterpunchWithSVG E02: Bjorn Engelhardt of Riverbed

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Catch Bjorn Engelhardt, Senior Vice President – APJ, Riverbed Technology in an exclusive conversation with Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst & CEO, Greyhound Research on our executive Q&A series, #CounterpunchWithSVG.

As the name suggests, Sanchit does really pull some punches and then, of course, gives his opponent an equal opportunity to either counterpunch or dodge it in style. Take a read for yourself…


SVG: Riverbed recently launched a new brand identity and is now positioned as a company that delivers on the promise of Digital Performance. Can you please explain to me how is this different to how the company was positioned earlier? Is it a mere marketing change to ride on the hype of Digital Transformation?

BE: Helping customers improve the performance of their businesses is part of Riverbed’s DNA. As our lives rapidly accelerate to fully digital, the concept of performance has taken on new meaning, and Riverbed has pivoted its business to help our customers get the most out of their digital initiatives.

We previously positioned ourselves as The Application Performance company –  and that resonated incredibly well with our customers – but in the digital world, our customers don’t just care about how apps are performing … they care about how people are interacting with those apps, and how are were connecting to them.

In the last few years, Riverbed has made tremendous investments in advancing our portfolio to deliver on this need. This included several strategic acquisitions, organic development of digital performance and cloud-based features and functionality, and integration across multiple solutions.

Our brand identity as The Digital Performance company better articulates the value and impact we deliver on these advancements.

SVG: What tangible difference will this new brand identity make for an end-user organisation and its key IT Decision Makers? What must they expect new in your approach going forward?

BE:  It’s the power of the Riverbed platform – not a new tag-line – that will make the tangible difference to our customers. The tag-line creates the opportunity to frame a new conversation with customers.

Our objective is simple. Allow our customers to Rethink possible. Too many times critical digital initiatives are quashed because the supporting foundations couldn’t support or would take too long to enable.

So many of the enterprises I speak within the region are investing billions in digital transformation and the technologies that enable it (cloud, mobile, IoT, AI, etc.) but finding it a really hard slog – and largely because they’re burdened with legacy IT systems and infrastructures.

We promise to connect users to applications, make them run faster, protect data anywhere and measure everything to ensure the ultimate user experience. This broader conversation with our customers ultimately creates confidence for them to tackle broader and more complex initiatives.

SVG: APAC is a large, complex region and organisations are at varied pace in their Digital Transformation journeys. Do you think orgs are ready to measure and report Digital Performance? And with so much variety given the country specific nature of their verticals and individual journeys, how will the message of Digital Performance be relevant for their respective organisation?

BE: Firstly, let’s not get lost in the terminology. Whether it’s a full-scale digital transformation or digitalisation of core business processes, these are taking place across all parts of APAC. The scale and complexity are more often linked to the sector or industry versus the region.

For example, our work with the banking sector across APAC shows that whether in Sri Lanka or Australia, the importance of customer experience is core. All banks look at two aspects of performance: How quickly can they complete new projects to meet customer demands and how well do those projects succeed in driving better business.

Riverbed simplifies the delivery of new projects and makes what previously was complex and time consuming a simple policy-based activity. For example, connecting multiple public clouds such as AWS & Azure together securely is a nothing more than a few policy commands.

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SVG: As they say, what gets measured gets done. Does Riverbed have any tools or methodologies that it currently has or plans to introduce to help organisations quantify Digital Performance?

BE: We are working on two fronts to help our customers with this. Firstly, our professional services teams frequently conduct performance management workshops, which is all about business process and nothing about technology. It’s all about how mature a customer is in measuring performance and how they use that to drive better outcomes. The best tools don’t drive the best outcomes unless you have the maturity to use them.

On the technology front, the rapidly emerging area for our customers is how their end users are actually experiencing digital apps and services – at the device level. We do this through an end-user monitoring tool, SteelCentral Aternity, that enables companies to establish a baseline for what “good” is, so they know exactly when — and where — there’s a performance issue that needs to be addressed. It’s incredibly powerful. We had one prominent law firm in Australia, McCullough Robertson Lawyers, use the tool to quickly identify and fix an issue to that was causing them to lose 75 hours of productivity a day. Consider the average hourly rate of a lawyer. Over the course of a year, that could have a dramatic impact on a company’s bottom line.

SVG: Like with any change, success (or failure) lies in how change is managed – can you give us a sense of how is this new message being spread across different teams at Riverbed particularly the customer facing ones?

BE: Just like any organization undergoing a digital transformation, our success requires a radical change in mindset and a rethinking of the fundamentals of all aspects of our business. We just announced a new CEO in Paul Mountford who will take us forward into this digital performance era. As our previous Chief Sales Officer, Paul has the first-hand experience with what our customers are asking for and needing from Riverbed. 

We are actively training our customer-facing teams on how to work with executives to understand the opportunities digital performance can bring. At the same time, we’re activating our partner community who form a critical part of the customer success. In fact, in two weeks we are gathering our top 100 partners globally to accelerate this topic. 

The questions you raise are really valid and I’m extremely confident that we’re ready to deliver on the promise of digital performance. It’s an exciting time to be at Riverbed.

<strong>Analyst: Sanchit Vir Gogia</strong>
Analyst: Sanchit Vir Gogia

Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Digital & Technology Research & Advisory firm.

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