NetApp: Close to the Vest

By Hailey Lynne McKeefry  |  Posted 2008-09-29 Print this article Print

NetApp strengthens its IT organization and creates a three-year strategic plan to meet the demands of a rapidly growing business.

Close to the Vest

In an environment where outsourcing is becoming widespread, NetApp takes a more conservative approach.

“We have partnerships with third parties, and we give them a portion of the support and development capabilities [to handle],” Levinson explains.

As with the hardware and software it deploys, the company is working with leading outsourcing vendors. “We have a significant partnership with IBM Global Services, which provides a lot of the services out of its Bangalore, India, site,” she says. “We also have on-site resources as part of the agreement.”

Levinson adds that the ultimate goal is to achieve a 70/30 split between offshore and onshore work with IBM, in order to achieve the best cost savings. Another goal is to “eventually have two partners to create some competition,” she says.

However, NetApp plans to keep its strategic activities in-house. “This year, we have focused on making sure we have insourced all our core skills and that we are getting deep knowledge in those skills,” says Levinson. “We want to get to a point at which we’re retaining ownership of applications 90 percent to 95 percent of the time.”

Long-Term Vision

Eighteen months ago, NetApp worked with its internal IT department to create a three-year strategic plan to support future growth. “We want to make sure we are working on the right things, and that there is alignment between our business strategy and our IT strategy,” says Levinson. She adds that the company had $2 billion in sales when she came and is planning to reach $10 billion during the lifetime of the strategic plan.

“We are a fast-growing company,” she says, “and we have to keep an eye on scaling to make sure our business processes keep pace with our growth curve.”

Business intelligence plays a key role in achieving that objective. “We intend to support and build business intelligence as a competitive differentiation for our company,” says Levinson. “As part of our BI initiatives, our goal is to create a 360-degree view of our customers and partners, in order to create customer loyalty, as well as opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell to drive additional revenue.”

The strategic plan also calls for adhering to best practices in storage technology. “We are in the storage business, and it is imperative to use storage solutions and showcase those to our customers, and to provide professional services, product management and engineering to make it even better,” says Levinson.

Another element of the plan includes a global workforce initiative that will allow the company to create a scalable workforce through internal staff development in low-cost geographies, combined with partnerships with managed services providers.

With these evolutionary changes, the IT organization of NetApp will be well-positioned to add value to its corporate goals and objectives.

READ Convergence: The Wave of the Future

Hailey Lynne McKeefry is a freelance writer for Baseline.

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