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Riverbed: Businesses Feel Financial Impact of ROBO IT

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Edward GatelyCompanies are struggling to support remote office and branch office (ROBO) IT, with specific challenges around delays in provisioning and outage recovery, and backup management.

That’s according to a Riverbed Technology survey of attendees at the EMC World event in Las Vegas. Most (82 percent) work in IT, while 9 percent work in development. Most have responsibility for storage (93 percent) and virtualization (72 percent).

Riverbed's Alison HubbardAlison Hubbard, Riverbed’s senior director of product marketing, tells Channel Partners that IT, business and workforces have become increasingly distributed with remote sites, remote offices and branch offices.

“The first thing we asked them is where they really rank remote and branch office IT in terms of the importance to their IT initiatives,” she said. “As far as ranking against data center, cloud and mobility, they ranked remote office and branch IT second to data center in terms of the importance that IT really thinks it plays in their business. It really aligns with a lot of the things that we’ve seen.”

Respondents indicated they had their hands full supporting ROBOs. Delays in provisioning ROBO infrastructure, apps and services are especially expensive as they delay an organization’s ability to generate revenue. This was ranked highest in terms of financial impact, at 45 percent.{ad}

Delays when recovering from ROBO outages also hurt the business’ ability to generate revenue, exposing the ROBO to risk from data loss and potentially tarnishing the business’ reputation (44 percent).

In terms of time spent by IT staff managing ROBO backups, IT rarely has enough staff at ROBOs, with often no IT staff on site, according to the survey. This makes it especially difficult to supervise backups (39 percent).

“When you think about it, remote offices represent production facilities for manufacturing companies, research facilities for pharmaceutical companies, oil rigs, military platoons and retail stores, so many different things,” Hubbard said. “Oftentimes we forget to put them into real-world context because we’re so busy calling them branches and remote offices. But when you stop to think about the productivity and the kind of decisions that get done in these places, you realize just how challenging it can be to support the work that’s being done there.”

One particularly vexing challenge respondents mentioned was what to do with all the data ROBO workers need and generate. Where one stores ROBO data is crucial to achieving operational efficiencies and high availability. Three-quarters of the respondents said that consolidating ROBO data back to the …

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… data center, or in the cloud, was somewhat to extremely desirable, the survey revealed.

“What channel partners need to do now is start to ask their customers the strategic questions … to really help expose the opportunity to offer them a holistic solution for remote IT,” Hubbard said. “Channel partners now can be much more strategic with their customers looking at three key elements of cost savings and efficiency: infrastructure, operations and business, in terms of the types of solutions that they’re delivering to their customers. And ultimately, in the short term and long term, their customers are going to be much better off.”

Riverbed’s SteelFusion provides an opportunity for the channel to sell much more interesting services, such as those around business continuity and disaster recovery, consolidation, cloud and data protection, she said. SteelFusion converges server, storage and network infrastructure into a single branch appliance.

“That gives channel partners a way to not only become more strategic with their customers, but a way to develop much more ingrained relationships with the businesses of their customers, as opposed to just box transactions,” Hubbard said.


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