Aruba Instant On capitalizing the SMB market
Amol Mitra, VP & GM- Worldwide Small and Medium Business, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
Aruba Instant On is a new family of access points (APs) and switches designed to address the current and future needs of small businesses. The Aruba Instant On product series are designed to meet the needs of small business network environments - simple to set up and manage, secure and reliable. In a chat with VARINDIA, Amol Mitra, VP & GM- Worldwide Small and Medium Business, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company has shared his views on Aruba’s Instant On brand, its growing demand, SMB market potential, growth rate etc.
Aruba Instant On - new brand for SMBs
Over the past few years the SMB market has grown and will continue to grow. Aruba made sure to invest appropriately in capitalizing on this market opportunity. Today this small and medium business market opportunity is about $6 billion and it is growing at about 8.8% year-over-year. Aruba wanted to tap on the market potential, so it created a new brand - Aruba Instant On, which is solely focused on SMB customers and market.
Delving deep into the matter Amol says, “We have three principles for this segment. Primarily, as seen especially during the pandemic they do not have IT support personnel, people to come, install and configure WiFi or wired products. So the first thing we did, we made these products really easy to use - Wi Fi, routers, and wired devices. We want to remove the complexity out of the network and decided to build very easy to use products. Second, during the pandemic we learned that security is paramount, it becomes a big issue for SMEs as well as enterprises. We built a product with strong security capability. Third, we wanted to make the product smart and intelligent to do automated configuration, users can work in an environment where they can prioritize traffic automatically. Automation and AI became very important with this, we took these three pillars and started on a journey of developing wired and wireless products. To manage these smart, secured products we created an Instant On App.”
He continues, “It is cloud based with remote management features, gives agility and flexibility to manage a network environment. Our journey started with developing these products, which are wired switches, wireless access points and cloud management software. That is what we sell under the Aruba Instant On brand for SMBs. It has just been an extremely successful endeavour. The success journey has already started and is growing exponentially. We want to drive a differentiated unique value proposition for SMB customers.”
The unique differentiation of Instant On
Talking about the unique differentiation of the company, Amol says, “The three pillars, the three Ss which are ‘Simple, Secure and Smart’ of Instant On are actually value propositions. We made the products affordable with enterprise level security, smart, AI powered features and easy to use. These make us a huge differentiator in the market. The second reason that helps us to be the differentiator in this market is we donot have any hidden costs. The third is we deliver the best warranty in the industry today. A lot of our products come with a limited lifetime warranty.”
Key priorities for 2022-23 in India
According to Amol In India the propensity of small businesses is huge. He points out, “In tier2 - tier3 cities you will see the emergence of small businesses and the opportunities for SMBs. As we draw the roadmap to grow this business in India, we want to target Class-B and C cities for the growth of SMEs. Connectivity has become more convenient. The Indian market has grown and the technology pace is rapid. We want to take advantage of that while delivering our products to our customers. “
Partner engagement programme- part of Aruba’s growth strategy
The SMB business is 100% channel driven. It is the channel-first value proposition, so the entire go-to-market strategy is about the channel. “Their success is our success. We have a program named ‘Partner Ready for Networking’ which allows our partners to register with us, get enabled and rewarded. The program frame is created as channel partners can do business with us, can grow their business while growing our business at the same time. We have a nice general partner framework with different incentives, solutions and technical certifications. Network-as-a-service is something which we are driving the SMB space. A lot of time people think the Network-as-a-service is for enterprises but SMBs can also be benefited from that,” illustrates Amol.
Key solutions for SMB segment in India
The Aruba Instant On product line is available in India. The software development happens in India. This portfolio is near and dear from a development perspective in the Indian market. Elaborating this Amol says, “We have a strong focus in driving the development portfolio in India. The seeds of startups get laid much more in India than anywhere else. We always look for startups and companies within HPE who can provide innovation and innovative solutions for our industry. We have multiple programs within HPE which enable us to incubate certain startups or to fund startups as a venture capital arm. We continue to explore options in India for specific startups who can deliver innovative solutions for the SMB market. As the development happens in India locally of some of the software and products, we are able to look at startups and use them for building and developing products, solutions and innovative technologies for this space. This product line within Aruba is taking advantage of it.”
Bridging the gap between technology and branding with increased cyber-crimes
Security is paramount for any IT leader. Post-Covid security is more important because businesses are moving a lot of their data to the Cloud. The adoption of Cloud has increased the need for higher levels of security. This always used to be the number one IT concern. Amol comments, “If you look at security as an overall umbrella, there is physical security, cybersecurity and data security. There are different levels of security pillars which we need to focus on. Aruba has a very strong security networking business. We have taken those three pillars of security and customized them for the SMB space. From a product portfolio perspective, we have access control capability; support strong security projects from access points to switches and security encryption. We have taken enterprise security capabilities and moved it into SMB space, which works as a differentiator in the market.”
The growth of IT industry
Pointing out the growth Amol says, “The IT industry is going through a boom right now. We are growing at a triple digit percentage year over year. In India the potential is huge due to the population of small and medium businesses. If you look at the projections of the market, the numbers of SMBs are going to grow 20-30% which is substantial in a populated country like India. We want to grow as fast as possible in this space.”
In his concluding words Amol says, “We have a large R&D facility center in Bangalore. We are exploring the options of what we can do to build products in India. The advantages for us to do that is not just from a cost perspective, but from market requirements perspective as India’s market requirement is different. We want to target certain products to be manufactured, build or developed here. This is the reason I am here investigating them and trying to build a plan for this segment.”
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