Sramana Mitra: How does your customer base split up into those categories? What percentage of the customers are the big spenders?
Steve Knipple: I would say that 50% to 60% are these larger accounts. These are people who want very large infrastructure. They have already scaled and they’re looking for that extra touch. Then about 40% to 50% are in the smaller range. Any customer that comes by us almost always grows with us. Many of the customers that are north of $80,000 a month started smaller with us.
They will come to us. We work to over-impress and over-deliver to show them that we’re a trusted partner and they almost always spend more with us. That’s really the way our business grows organically.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s switch to a different mode of thinking. What do you see happening in the industry that are major trends?
Steve Knipple: I think the trend is still moving towards cloud and managed services. We have a lot of customers coming to us who simply don’t want to buy hardware. They want to move to an OPEX utility model. They may have some base loads that they’ll buy things for, but for the majority of their load, they really want to move to an OPEX model. I think that trend is going to continue.
If anything, the cloud is not standardizing things. It’s de-standardizing things. If you look at the Amazon platform, all of them are trying to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. I think customers are increasingly concerned about spreading that risk across multiple providers. When I talk to people who are in Amazon or Azure, of the ones that are happy with them, they say, “We are very happy but we are concerned that we are putting all our eggs in one basket.” I think it’s going to stabilize to a hybrid model. I do think that more and more customers are see putting everything with one provider as a risk. The overall trend is that more people are moving and will continue to move towards managed services in the cloud. Once they’re in the cloud, they’re going to look to diversify risk across multiple suppliers.
Sramana Mitra: What are some blue-sky opportunities where you’d point entrepreneurs to look for business ideas?
Steve Knipple: The one that I get asked for the most is the single pane of glass across an entire cloud infrastructure. The dream in the enterprise over the last 20 years is to have a single pane of glass across the entire infrastructure – a place to roll-up all of their service level agreements, to see the performance of all of their systems, to have all their inventories. All of that has been turned on its head right now because it’s in the cloud. Now, you’re buying services. A single pane of glass for all services put down to common metrics would be a good entrepreneurial activity to engage in.
Sramana Mitra: Very good. That’s a very precise idea to explore. Thank you very much.