Business Development Lead for Manufacturing, NetApp
With industry-leading software, systems and cloud services, NetApp works with a wide spectrum of industries to support their digital transformation.
Russ Sagert, Business Development Lead for Manufacturing, focuses on how NetApp can utilise its own capabilities for the benefit of manufacturers, as well as looking into how partnerships with other companies could further expand NetApp’s offerings.
Focusing on the company’s go-to-market strategies, Sagert explains, “We're really looking to try to solve customer problems, whether that is production line efficiencies, product quality or worker health and safety, for instance. There is always a business outcome our customer is interested in. Where I get involved is trying to figure out how we align with different partners to jointly solve those problems.”
Joining NetApp from GE, Sagert was previously a Senior Solutions Architect, where he focused on the digital transformation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Reflecting on other aspects of his career, the Business Development Lead says, “I'm pretty sure I'm the only geophysicist in an IT company. I spent the bulk of my career working in oil and gas on the exploration side of things.”
Across many roles throughout his career, Sagert has discovered a passion for developing and deploying optimised solutions for industrial manufacturing plant operators, going through technological transformation to improve operational efficiency, product quality, and site safety.
“I'm really interested in technology, but I also really enjoy helping people. When you know that what you're working on has a direct impact on a person, an individual, a company and of course, the profitability, that's really interesting,” outlines Sagert.
He continues, “I never do the same thing two days in a row, ever. So, one day I'm working oil and gas, the next I'm working in automotive manufacturing, then I'm working with biochemical or aerospace. Even in theme parks or French fry manufacturing. I enjoy learning about the different customers’ businesses and their challenges to be able to say, ‘ah, this is what fits’, or ‘these are the partnerships we need to find and build.”
With his expertise in cultivating and maintaining relationships between companies, Sagert has played a pivotal role in NetApp’s partnership with Samsung, which looks to bring new technologies and innovations to the manufacturing world as a way of improving efficiencies and transforming the industry.
“My position at NetApp has evolved to creating solutions for customer problems. The foundation of developing these solutions is seeking out the important partnerships that can fill gaps and extend NetApp expertise. The overall solution we now look to offer with partners combines industry-specific analytics, infrastructure, domain knowledge, business transformation, telecommunications, computing infrastructure and cloud services. There is no one company that provides that as an end-to-end platform. So as a result, partnerships are absolutely of paramount importance. You can't just pull them together at the last minute to try to solve a problem. You have to know how to work with each other,” explains Sagert.
While NetApp solutions play a key role in helping factories adapt to the new technological transformation all industries are going through, Sagert recognises the importance of partnering with Samsung SDS to effectively meet the needs of their jointly held customers. He says, “The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is around the complexity of solutions. Many large organisations have the propensity to say, ‘Hmm, we're really good. We have phenomenal technologies. We can do this ourselves.’ But I think right off the bat, the complexity should be an educational tool to almost anybody and show that you can't just do it by yourself.”
Sagert concludes, “I don't care what size of organisation you are, or what you think your capabilities are. There are other players and partners that have unique, specific capabilities. You have to understand that it is their business – their area of expertise. It's better to have experts working collaboratively together.
“I think the significance of partnerships was the very first and foremost thing I learned – the more complex the issue and the more complex the environment, the more you need to partner with the right expert.”
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