So we all know change is not easy, especially when it involves shifting focus from what you have be doing successfully for many years. Last week I had the opportunity to attend F5 Networks - North American Partner Leadership Summit along with many of F5’s top North American Partners. The message from the Senior Management team was crystal clear, F5 is changing its stance in the market and is very serious about rapidly evolving to meet these new market and customer demands.
I chatted with some of the other partners and it became apparent to me that Arctiq’s partnership with F5 was very different than the majority of partners in attendance. We are focused on the automation and enablement aspects of F5’s emerging software solutions rather than selling traditional F5 Hardware. Many established F5 partners are focused on hardware / appliance resale and renewals business for years, yet the market indicates that the growth potential is clearly no longer there. F5 has made it clear that it’s changing focus and is investing in new revenue opportunities and go to market offerings as fast as possible.
Now don’t get me wrong, F5 has built a very successful set of solutions and its growth and revenue has proven that consistently. F5 and its channel partners will clearly continue to sell more hardware and virtual appliances to enterprise customers. Everyone has heard the saying by now that Software is eating the World and Cloud is certainly changing the way we all look at networking, security and the automation potential of infrastructure and applications.
Every cloud provider offers their own flavor of a load balancer today. Customers are focused on moving as many aspects of their application into microservices and containers. The hype around Serverless is at its peak and application architectures are focused on decoupling components, reducing complexity, scalability, portability and integrated security. With all these new pressures, companies can’t risk failing to change.
My days spent with the F5 eco-system left me with a clear message; F5 is changing and the entire team seems to be on the bus. Change is never easy, but knowing what you are walking into (with strong leadership) is definitely half the battle. The part that made this really hit home was F5 recognizing Arctiq with the North American Innovation Partner of the Year award. Arctiq being one of the smallest partners at the Summit and being recognized for innovation clearly shows that our focus and business goals are aligned with F5’s focus on emerging technology and innovation. We are thankful and humbled by the recognition.
There are a few observations and quotes that I walked away with:
- Hardware is still selling well, but is not the rapid growth area F5 is going after
- The majority of the F5 senior management team is fresh and ready to deliver change
- F5 is laser focused on applications, developers, security and devops
- F5 has a lot to offer when it comes to multi-cloud and application portability
- Security needs to be integrated into all aspect of application life cycle
- Enabling automation and an API first strategy is a huge focus and key to success
- You will hear much more from F5 in regards to: - Multi-Cloud Application Services - The Atomification of Applications
- F5 is moving from a single product focus to a 3, 4, 5, and beyond product focus
- F5 is still very committed to the channel and helping partners change with F5
A quote that was part of the discussion that resonates and aligns well with the call to action
“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction” - John F. Kennedy
Interested in learning more about F5’s changing ways, or looking for help transforming your organization. We would love to hear from you.