As a young company in the $40 billion plus storage market, we have been maniacal about measuring our progress, looking at dozens of dimensions using hundreds of metrics. Of those measures, perhaps the most important is the pace of new customer acquisition. We signed 663 new customers in the quarter ended July 31, bringing our total to more than 2,000 for the past 12 months. That pace is unmatched by any storage company started in the last decade.
The Importance of New Customer Acquisition
Today’s inexorable rate of data growth means that every new customer will become a driver of long-term revenue growth.
More than a simple measure of future revenue, this metric it is an indication of whether a storage product can disrupt a market of giants. Our platform’s resilience, and its suitability for a broad range of applications, are two important reasons we have been able to successfully challenge the market’s incumbents.
- Resilience trumps all. Resilience is more critical to storage than it is to any other datacenter component. That is because storage breakdowns can result in catastrophic data loss. Consequently, enterprises tend to be wary of new vendors. Thousands of customers, and tens of thousands of deployments, serve as the ultimate proof that a storage product has enterprise-grade resilience.
- Broad versus niche. Many start-ups initially target specific use cases, and then try to expand the number of workloads their products can address. Most customers require a storage solution that can support a varied set of workloads. A large and diverse customer base is a true test of whether a storage product can scale across a range of vertical markets and different workloads.
Why Customers Prefer Nimble
We serve a diverse group of customers: Our platform has been adopted by cloud service providers, and mid-sized and Fortune 500 companies across a wide range of industries. Our customers rely on a mix of applications, and run a variety of workloads.
Our success serving this diverse group can be traced first, to the emphasis we have always placed on delivering a superior customer experience, and second, to the horizontal nature and breadth of our platform.
- Customer references drive rapid prospect conversion. We go to extreme lengths to give every customer a positive “Nimble experience.” From the way our sales teams treat prospects, to the value our products deliver, and our high level of post-sale support, we strive to delight our customers. InfoSight™, our cloud based management software, is critical to delivering an exceptional support experience. While other storage startups have to run pilots, and proof-of-concept tests to sign 80 to 90 percent of their new customers, we have been able to rely on enthusiastic customer endorsements. Our customers have become company ambassadors, radically reducing the time it takes to close each new sale.
- Product breadth. One of our earliest decisions was to target a broad market. Interoperability and solution integration would be critical. That meant we needed to forge alliances with industry leading vendors if we were to be successful. Our SmartStack™, pre-validated reference architectures with Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, Citrix and Oracle, serve as prime examples of the work we’ve done with our partners to accelerate and simplify customer deployments. Most of our customers start small, but eventually deploy us as a consolidation platform for a wide range of workloads.
We strongly believe flash will upend traditional disk-based architectures, and that cloud-based storage management will eventually replace current approaches to storage management. The pace of customer adoption we have seen at Nimble is a real vindication of that belief.
- Suresh Vasudevan