Rodney Foreman: A true champion of the channel

As a world champion powerboat racer Informatica's channel chief Rodney Foreman has emphatically proven his competitive strength, which is reflected in the company's ramped up ambition to become an ever potent force in the global data management market.

Informatica's worldwide expansion campaign has begun, and with Foreman at the helm it is likely to be another example of high speed growth and glory. The company's long-term goal is to double the value of the business from $5 billion to $10 billion and accelerate its strategy to deliver more data management offerings in the cloud. "We are looking to drive 50 per cent of our business through the channel," stated Foreman, who is Informatica's SVP for the Partner Ecosystem. "Our priority is to ramp up partner capacity and give them the skills and knowledge they need to sell and deploy our products. We are addressing this, our greatest challenge, by creating an authorisation programme with training roadmaps and courses. This is a crucial part of our vision for the future and will be central to how we grow the business."

The company currently works with over 7,000 customers and 500 partners globally and is focused on building a network of VAD and VAR channel partners via a two-tier programme designed to bring to market its Intelligent Data Platform. As part of the growth strategy Informatica has formed a distribution deal with Arrow. The company also expanded its distribution agreement with Avnet to include the United States and Canada, building on agreements in EMEA, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. "The implementation of a two-tier channel programme will enable VADs to undertake partner recruitment and activation," said Foreman.

Informatica was founded in 1993 by Gaurav Dhillon and Diaz Nesamoney after they spotted an opportunity to help organisations gain a competitive advantage from making the most of their data assets. "Our purpose is to enable customers to achieve maximum business value from all things Big Data in the cloud, real-time and streaming," explained Foreman. "Informatica provides software to help organisations turn their troves of raw data into actionable information."

In 2015 Informatica changed ownership and transformed its corporate structure, a move that made life better for employees and enabled the company to be more flexible in how it builds products and services, while speeding up the development of cloud offerings.

"The cloud has been one of the most fundamental business model shifts during the last 10 years," added Foreman. "That meant we needed to find ways of getting closer to our customers through a broader range of touchpoints. The global channel partner programme, launched in February, widened our scope to bring in new partners. Reaching new customers globally is dependent on the success of our channel programme and the work we do with partners."

Foreman says Informatica's biggest opportunity is to become ‘the intelligent cloud data management platform for mid-market companies'. "We are seeing tremendous growth in the mid-market," he noted. "We also see a huge opportunity with data governance. Our acquisition of data governance platform Diaku supports that focus. We can also combine this with data security in an approach that secures data at the source, rather than by protecting the perimeter which is the practice of most security software vendors."

Foreman expects the evolution of his strategy to embrace more OEM type business models with system integrators, jointly creating solutions by industry vertical around data integration, data management, data quality and data security. "We expect to leverage the VAD marketplaces to align our products with other vendors and create these industry vertical solutions," he added.

Foreman brings deep industry insights to the task in hand. His career began as an engineer working on portable computers at Compaq Computer Corporation before becoming an architect for large scale network systems, and then moving into software product management and sales. He went on to lead the cloud software channel business unit at IBM. To sum up, Foreman's career experience positions him well to succeed in his current role as Informatica's senior exec' responsible for the channel. "I enjoy having face-to-face time working with partners," he added. "Creating a win-win scenario with partners is something I'm passionate about. We will continue to strengthen our partnerships, execute on our aggressive product roadmap and grow our customer base, while reflecting the broad shift in customer buying behaviours.

"Customers today are more likely to purchase multi-vendor solutions from technology partners. They want resellers and SIs to be their trusted advisors, providing complete end-to-end solutions that leverage the cloud. In this context, partners will evolve into a role that drives new customer sales and innovation around ISV products. The most successful partners will combine multiple vendor solutions that are targeted at specific industries. That will be the way customers buy in the future."