Provide a brief description of the Initiative.
This submission pertains to Compugen Inc.‘s VirtualONE initiative, which serves as a branding platform for consolidating and marketing a number of previously separate IT virtualization solutions and services that combine products and technologies from leading IT vendors with Compugen’s own professional services. VirtualONE strategies include describing both the business benefits of virtualization as well as its potential complexity, so that interest is generated in the technologies and in the value of engaging a competent and experienced partner such as Compugen. VirtualONE is a comprehensive business development and solution delivery initiative that incorporates: • An IT solutions and services practice area within Compugen focused specifically on IT infrastructure optimization through the use of virtualization; • A strategic marketing program, including development of the brand platform, value proposition, key messages, competitive differentiation and a comprehensive set of marketing deliverables; and • Tactical lead-generation activities that are producing qualified business development opportunities for follow-up by the sales team. Target Audience The VirtualONE marketing initiative targets IT professionals, managers and CIOs, and is relevant to virtually any size of organization in any industry. It will be of most interest to those who are seeking ‘strategic’ benefits, such as having an infrastructure that is flexible, responds quickly to changing needs and recovers well from a disaster, as well as those seeking ‘tactical’ benefits such as hardware consolidation, cost reduction, improved infrastructure manageability, simplified operating system migration, enhanced security, datacentre footprint reduction and better remote access service delivery. Through benefits such as reduction in power and HVAC consumption, VirtualONE also presents a compelling story for the rapidly growing number of IT managers for whom environmental sustainability is evolving from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’. Positioning Statement Compugen’s VirtualONE IT infrastructure optimization and virtualization service ensures that customer investments in virtualization deliver maximum benefit at minimum risk by combining knowledgeable and experienced IT professionals, best-of-breed virtualization products and technologies from industry-leading partners, a cradle-to-grave suite of IT lifecycle services, and industry-recognized best practices. Value Proposition VirtualONE is a holistic approach to virtualization – covering all aspects of the IT landscape – that solves many day-to-day IT problems, while yielding a ‘strategic IT infrastructure’ that is dynamic, adaptive and optimized for maximum business productivity, continuity and value generation. VirtualONE can help an organization better position itself to overcome business challenges, respond to increasing customer demand and seize new business opportunities. The VirtualONE approach also produces results that align with ‘green computing’ goals and initiatives. A Web site dedicated to presenting Compugen’s VirtualONE IT optimization and virtualization solutions and services can be seen at http://virtualone.compugen.com, along with brand characteristics, strategic marketing deliverables (collateral, customer case studies, newsletter articles, etc.) and usage scenarios. VirtualONE, which encompasses Compugen’s virtualization solutions and services for servers, storage, applications, PC/desktops and networks, revolves around products and technologies from industry leaders such as Cisco, Citrix, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NetApp and VMware, to name a few. The VirtualONE approach has gained considerable traction in the Canadian market and is looked upon favourably by partners and customers alike. To date, many VirtualONE projects have been completed for mid-to-large-size public and private sector organizations across Canada
Describe what makes this Initiative original or innovative in the application of IT to a group of customers or solution, and/or in presenting an established approach in an innovative and creative way.
Over the past few years, virtualization has become widespread; and today, most organizations have already undertaken some form of virtualization, covering desktops/laptops, applications, servers, storage or networks, and Compugen has been involved in a wide variety of such projects. With customer interest growing quickly, and competition heating up, Compugen decided to consolidate these separate virtualization activities and experiences under a single brand to help differentiate itself and establish Compugen’s infrastructure-wide virtualization practice as unique in the industry. A professional branding agency was engaged to create a strong visual brand for Compugen’s consolidated virtualization practice, along with a unique positioning statement, compelling value proposition and relevant messages. Out of this exercise arose the VirtualONE brand, encompassing all of Compugen’s virtualization solutions and services, and covering the use of virtualization across the full computing ‘stack’. Fundamental to the brand, and an aspect of what makes VirtualONE unique, was the realization that beyond the value and benefits of individual point solutions, there was an opportunity for Compugen to deliver significant added value to customers in the form of additional technical and business benefits by helping them take an infrastructure-wide view when architecting a virtualization solution – one that considers opportunities, obstacles and impact across all aspects of an organization’s IT environment. For example, it may turn out for an organization contemplating server virtualization that a complementary storage virtualization solution would be a better starting point because it might yield more immediate benefits and provide a platform that simplifies subsequent server consolidation and compounds the associated benefits. By taking such a ‘holistic’ approach, Compugen ensures that customer investments in virtualization yield maximum business value, with minimum risk. A second example of what makes VirtualONE marketing unique stems from the fact that the general approach by other solution providers to marketing virtualization has been to stress the business benefits while downplaying the associated problems. For example, one benefit of server virtualization would be a reduction in the number of physical servers in a datacentre, while a resulting problem would be the increased complexity associated with managing server infrastructure in a virtualized environment, perhaps requiring new and unfamiliar management tools. The VirtualONE approach addresses these challenges head-on, leading with potential benefits, while ensuring that associated implications are well understood and that the solutions for these are an integral part of the overall VirtualONE solution. Once again, the goal here is to maximum business value while minimizing risk. Thirdly, an integrated approach to virtualization involves gathering metrics around productivity objectives. Reliability, agility, security, cost reduction are all important objectives, but greater weight may rest on some of these than others, depending on management’s goals. VirtualONE captures the idea of a deeply consultative process to glean insight into the nature of the business, short- and long-term goals, and sensitivities. In addition, few other IT solutions and services providers in Canada, if any, have the breadth of domain knowledge and services, and depth of virtualization experience that Compugen has, in addition to a field-proven methodology based on vendor and industry best practices, and a national presence (15 offices in major centres across Canada) that allows Compugen to meet customers’ virtualization needs from coast to coast. In combination, these attributes make Compugen’s VirtualONE unique. The messaging we developed around the VirtualONE approach, and our ability to solve tactical problems while helping customers achieve strategic goals, are resonating well with customers and prospects, and VirtualONE is enjoying great success in the marketplace.
Describe how this Initiative benefited the solution provider with improvement in interest, leads, sales, revenue, or other factors. What changed? Provide evidence of measurable improvements in leads, sales, revenues, etc.
Interest in VirtualONE and qualified leads were driven by a series of events, activities and the distribution of related collateral that took place throughout 2009. These events and activities included tradeshows, webinars, seminars and assessments and involved nearly 800 registrations and 450 attendees (tradeshows did not involve registration but were measured in terms of contacts with prospects at a booth) at events in Quebec City (in French), Montreal (in French), Ottawa, Toronto, London, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver. Attendance at all of these events was driven by invitations accompanied by VirtualONE collateral customized by vendor partner (different collateral was created for each partner). While the ratio of attendees to registrants was normal in our experience, the number of registrations was significantly higher than normal. We attribute this to the strength and relevance of the VirtualONE messaging. Similarly, the number of leads associated with this initiative was unusually high. Those expressing a desire to learn more did so at a rate three times higher than normal. This drove down the cost-per-qualified-lead by nearly 60 per cent. Because the IT infrastructure sales cycle is very long, however, we do not yet have reliable data on conversion of qualified leads into sales.
Describe how this Initiative strengthened the solution provider’s relationship with their vendor. What changed? Provide evidence of this strengthened relationship.
The VirtualONE initiative has clearly enhanced our relationship with a number of our key vendor partners. In VMware’s channel partner agreement, for example, it is suggested that their best partners have dedicated virtualization practices and that this is a pre-requisite for attaining Premier and National partner status. Compugen has such a dedicated practice in the form of our VirtualONE practice, which is enabling us to reach the highest levels of partnership with VMware in Canada. For our VirtualONE work in 2009, Compugen received a VMware Partner Network Award, winning the Global Partner Executive MVP category at the VMware Partner Exchange 2010 event held in February, 2010. For its efforts leading up to 2009, Compugen was recognized by VMware as a winner of a Partner Exchange Award in the Market Maker category for outstanding achievements in 2008. Compugen was one of only four international Market Makers to be recognized by VMware, acknowledging the best sales growth and new account penetration in the Canadian marketplace. In addition to receiving the VMware international award, Compugen was also recognized at Partner Exchange as VMware Canada’s Partner of the Year for 2008. With respect to Microsoft, when they were first getting into the virtualization business, they targeted Compugen in Canada because of our virtualization specialization and strengths, so they approached Compugen’s President & CEO to incorporate Microsoft into our VirtualONE practice and incorporate the Microsoft messaging and products into our portfolio of virtualization solutions and services. Intel recognizes these strengths as well, and when they came out with their virtualization vision of how all the various pieces would fit together, they saw that Compugen was their only partner in Canada that was already focused on this holistic view. As a result, Compugen was the only Canadian partner that Intel invited to its California office to review this concept and to introduce Compugen to its new client-side hypervisor – a full 18 months ahead of when this product has just been made available. With Citrix, we are one of only five Canadian partners, and the only National partner, that meets their new ‘competency model’ … if you don’t have the authorized competencies in virtualization, you can’t register deal opportunities with them. However, Compugen has these Citrix-authorized competencies, and we may in fact be the only Citrix partner in Canada that is delivering virtualization solutions that incorporate all aspects of the Citrix portfolio into a single solution at a single customer location. Leading virtualization vendor partners of Compugen in Canada, such as Intel, HP, VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, are introducing their new virtualization technologies to Compugen significantly ahead of release schedule because they see us as a company that ‘gets it’ with respect to the holistic, integrated vision of virtualization.
In what ways did this Initiative go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
When Compugen first started into the virtualization business, there wasn’t the level of continuous virtualization messages in the market that there is today; however, our holistic view is still ahead of most others, while many are still working in their own ‘silos’. Our vision – and actual hands-on delivery – of how we put all the IT landscape pieces together as a single solution is fairly unique, especially since we now take that approach right down to the desktop image. We look at all the pieces, including the endpoint devices, whether it is thin clients, laptops, rich PCs, iPads or iPhones. This still fairly unique, yet meets the needs of customers and generally exceeds the industry expectations resulting from experiences with IT services providers that don’t have the breadth and depth of virtualization expertise and offerings. We also look well past the hardware, operating systems and applications of the Tier 1 virtualization vendors, to also include the management stack and the surrounding Tier 2 add-ons from the likes of our vendor partners AppSense and Vizioncore, for example, that incorporate the manageability, security and policy enforcement aspects of IT infrastructure and managing a virtualized environment, for example. We make sure that all this is brought together as a single integrated architecture that works seamlessly, including training and ongoing support & maintenance. And most recently, we’ve been able to broaden the VirtualONE initiative even further so that it fully addresses “green IT” and environmental sustainability goals. And beyond VirtualONE, we also see possibilities for this initiative to interact with other Compugen brand platforms such as DataHorizon (our datacentre optimization practice) and Pathways (our Microsoft solutions & services practice) as mutually reinforcing ideas around holistic infrastructure thinking, standardization, best practices and evolving cloud computing possibilities – each initiative strengthened by its association with the others.