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VMblog's Expert Interviews: New Commvault CEO Sanjay Mirchandani Talks Company, Market, and Strategy

 

Commvault has a new CEO for the first time in more than two decades.  Sanjay Mirchandani, the former Puppet CEO, took the helm after an eight-month search to replace the retiring Bob Hammer.  Hammer left the company after growing it to a $3.1 billion market cap.  But now, it is Mirchandani's turn to grow the company and possibly take it into new directions.  After allowing some time to get settled in, VMblog spoke with Mirchandani to find out more about the man and his experiences, and get his thoughts on the company, the market, and where he goes from here.

VMblog:  You recently joined Commvault as its new CEO.  Tell us a little about yourself and what interested you most about the company to make this move.

Sanjay Mirchandani:  Having been in the industry for over 30 years, I've lived the IT evolution from mainframes to multicloud and cloud native. And, while our customers will embrace new and different technologies along the way, it really boils down to how they manage, protect and use their data to drive their businesses forward. 

During this time, I also encountered, assessed as a CIO and even competed against Commvault.  I was always impressed with their products and place in the industry. So, what better way to continue my passion for data than joining a proven industry leader?

Now, sitting in the CEO seat, I can tell you Commvault has a huge opportunity ahead. This is reinforced by the uptick of investments we're seeing in our space. But, more importantly, we have decades of experience, the most comprehensive technology, and the best partners and support in the industry, so we sell much more than technology - we sell the confidence our customers need with their data.

VMblog:  Coming from Puppet, what experiences from there can you bring that will help lead Commvault forward?

Mirchandani:  Puppet is a rising star in the industry with great people and cool technology, so it wasn't an easy decision to leave. However, I knew Commvault was the right next step for me given my passion for data. That said, DevOps, automation and agile are not only important as we continue to enhance our products, services and support, but will help our customers that are experiencing a lot of the same challenges. For sure, my Puppet experience is complementary to Commvault.

VMblog:  In a crowded market, how do you see Commvault's differentiation?

Mirchandani:  While we may have been quieter than others, we spent the last 20 years innovating our products and growing our business to help customers address their unique data needs. Sure, this has earned us a leadership spot in the industry, but the most important validation is our customers' continued trust and confidence in us.

VMblog:  And how do you feel you compare to some of the newer players in this market - the startups as opposed to some of the legacy players?  Do you think of them differently?

Mirchandani:  As a former CIO, I find it fascinating that the upstarts raising funding lately are trying to use legacy as a negative. Customers don't want to have to rely on a cottage industry of solutions to manage and protect their critical data. They want a proven leader - that has the track record, financial strength and staying power to help them continue to simplify their complexity, grow and evolve for the future. Commvault does this.

VMblog:  I learned about Commvault's roadmap and strategy shift at last year's Commvault GO event.  It's early, but do you have any initial thoughts on that strategy?  What is your vision for the company?

Mirchandani:  It's still a little early. As part of my 60-day listening tour I've met more than 60% of our employees in the States, EMEA, and Asia Pacific, as well as talked with dozens of customers and partners. The bottom line, this is a great company with an amazing opportunity. We had strong third quarter results and intend to continue our growth and innovation.

VMblog:  What have you heard from customers or partners since taking over?

Mirchandani:  Our outgoing CEO Bob Hammer has been saying for years, "it's about the data; it's about driving value from the data." Our customers and partners have continued to echo this and want to continue to work with us to unlock the potential within their data. I'm looking forward to continuing these conversations.

VMblog:  What do you believe will be your biggest challenge as you take the reins?

Mirchandani:  I'm fortunate as Commvault is already on very stable ground. That said, I didn't come here to tread water. We'll be introducing our strategy in the future, but core to that will be continuing to engage our employees and ecosystem while fostering an inspiring and innovative culture that propels us to the next level. We have a tremendous foundation to build on and the right people, mindset and strategy to do it.

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Published Monday, March 25, 2019 6:50 AM by David Marshall
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