Data is becoming increasingly important across the world, to the point where it drives major decisions to ensure businesses stay up to date with the ever-changing digital world. On the plus side, most businesses have this data readily accessible. However, using a cloud storage service to manage and look after this information comes with its own unique challenges.
To uncover the best ways for businesses to maximize their data use and reduce infrastructure management costs, we spoke with Cathy Southwick, the Chief Information Storage Officer of Pure Storage.
What have been some of the biggest changes in the storage industry over the past 10 years?
In the past decade, the storage landscape has seen various large-scale changes. First, organizations began to move to all-flash solutions. Currently, over 70 percent of businesses use flash for important production environments. In my opinion, there have been a few key things that have occurred in this field over the last decade.
All-flash storage: The most important moment for flash came about in 2014 when the industry moved from disk-dominated storage to new all-flash products. But flash storage continues to become more affordable, which means that we can expect it to grow in popularity among enterprises and as the foundation for cloud storage—including for public, SaaS, and internal options.
Storage-as-a-service: With Storage-as-a-Service, the versatility and power of leading data storage solutions can be harnessed by any data center across the world, regardless of how they store information and what sort of information is stored.
How do you ensure you stay focused as a company on your goals?
Our company is up there with the best in the industry because we’re always trying to improve. Rather than moving along at the same speed as many of our competitors, we regularly bring new ideas to the table. By combining this with a new customer-centric business model and modern technology we’ve been able to accelerate our growth.
By being one of the first to act, we’ve benefited immensely. Data-related challenges continue to evolve, and our modern approach allows us to implement the most appropriate solutions at the best times. We dedicate a huge 18 percent of our company revenue to the development and research of new products to ensure we remain an industry leader in the data storage field.
How important has the relationship with your customers been in helping Pure Storage grow?
Customer relationships have been a crucial part of our development. Our customer-oriented values remain as strong as ever now, a decade after Pure Storage was founded. Our commitment to driving innovation shows this, as our cutting-edge solutions are being implemented across the world to solve problems and transform the digital landscape. Additionally, it’s reflected in our excellent Net Promoter Score (NPS), where we have been in the top 1 percent of all B2B companies for the past four years.
How do you see the storage market changing in the next 10 years?
If you ask me, flash storage is going to continue to advance over the coming years. There are a few important milestones that still need to be reached, which will contribute to the advancement of flash technology globally.
However, the technology isn’t the be all and end all here. It’s also important to keep the customer experience in mind, maintaining the choice and versatility that the industry has become used to. In general, businesses today expect IT to come in a flexible package, with resources that can be used anywhere, by any application or environment.
This is one of the reasons why Pure Storage is currently prioritizing the growth of our Storage-as-a-Service portfolio. We were the first and, currently, we remain the only company that provides a single subscription with clear flexibility between various on-prem and cloud storage solutions. Because of this, we believe that our second decade in business will see continued growth in the field as we work to move and update traditional storage to fit the modern digital landscape.
What is one piece of advice you would give entrepreneurs starting a business today?
There’s plenty of advice I could give, but it’s absolutely crucial to ensure that you never ignore consumer knowledge. The needs of different customers are different, and they can change extremely quickly.
Understanding a customer today doesn’t necessarily mean that you will still understand them in the future. Ensure that you continue to network with various business professionals and remain up to date with technological developments. Doing this will help you understand just what the customer is looking for, what the current main challenges are, and what the main areas of concern are.