How F5 Networks Plans to Become a Software Powerhouse

Dhananjay Ganjoo Shares About Turning Security Business Into 'As-a-Service' Model
How F5 Networks Plans to Become a Software Powerhouse
Dhananjay Ganjoo, managing director for India and SAARC, F5 Networks

Technology company F5 Networks has announced the appointment of Dhananjay Ganjoo as the managing director for the India and SAARC region. In his previous roles, Ganjoo actively led several businesses, including technology companies like Nortel Networks and Juniper Networks.

Ganjoo explained how he plans to take on this coveted role in these challenging times. On course to predominantly position itself as a software company, especially after the acquisitions of NGINX and Shape Security during 2019 and 2020, respectively, F5 has got a large enterprise customer base already.

"By working alongside the business leadership, I am aware of what's working and what's not. We've got the right actors in the right position to take the business to the next level. However, there's still a lot to do," Ganjoo says.

The Three Focus Areas

Ganjoo will be driving three key focus areas that are essential to accelerate business for F5:

  • Turn security business into "as-a-service" model: Though F5 is traditionally known as an application delivery controller (ADC) appliance company, 40% of its revenue now comes from the security business.
  • "Post our acquisition of Shape Security - a company offering application security solutions to defend against attacks, fraud, and abuse in a multicloud environment - we are keen to take it to a 'as-a-service' model in India. We have our points of presence; hence, we are fully compliant with data privacy and security. As an additional layer to web application firewall (WAF), Shape Security will help us in spreading both horizontally and vertically," he says.

    F5's security strategy is rooted in what customers are trying to accomplish - optimum app performance with maximized uptime and reduced losses due to fraud or abuse.

  • Onboarding channel partners with security in their DNA: While F5's channel network is strong and pervasive in India and has grown from strength to strength, Ganjoo thinks being fiercely competitive is not enough yet.
  • "When we began focusing on India business, we were perhaps in a few business domains, and the recruited channel partners were serving well. However, now since we are into different domains, it's time to relook at that. While I am not saying the current channel strategy isn't effective, we need to find our partners with security in their DNA. This will help us proliferate our 'as-a-service' model," Ganjoo says.

    NGINX is also a fairly new acquisition for F5 Networks. With its new slogan 'code to customer,' NGINX holds a prominent position in the DevOps space with a slew of technologies for developing and delivering modern applications. Combined with F5, the solutions help bridge gaps between NetOps and DevOps with multicloud application services that span from code to customer.

    "In the next 2 to 3 quarters, my goal will be to focus on demystifying the entire ecosystem and target on channels who can help us reach the right customers with our Freemium model," he adds.

  • Foundation for future growth: F5 Networks has been driving efforts to expand beyond its traditional hardware business into the software and services space. The company has also started reporting good gains in revenues in those two areas, especially after acquiring NGINX and Shape Security. These acquisitions broaden the scope of expansion for F5 beyond its traditional stronghold that earlier formed the core of its business.
  • "We will eventually be known as a software company without a doubt. With our sharp focus on cloud and SaaS models, we'll only gain speed to transition our business to software-as-a-service," Ganjoo says.

Adjusting to the New Normal

Owing to the global pandemic, businesses are grappling with economic pressures due to the sudden shift to a virtual model. Ganjoo will be leading the India and SAARC business for F5 in these challenging and turbulent times.

"It's true there's a sea change in the behavior and way of working since March this year. As cliché as it may sound, it's the new normal we all have to adjust to," he adds.

Enterprise customers expect F5 to offer the following:

  • Application visibility
  • Application security
  • Automation

"We are fully ready to serve them on these fronts. We just accomplished a complex API integration of Service Now calls for a major Indian company. That gives us a great deal of confidence to ensure that we are fully equipped to deliver to our customers remotely," he says.

This article was previously published on the DynamicCIO website on July 7, 2020.

About the Author

Rahul Neel Mani

Rahul Neel Mani

Founding Director of Grey Head Media and Vice President of Community Engagement and Editorial, ISMG

Neel Mani is responsible for building and nurturing communities in both technology and security domains for various ISMG brands. He has more than 25 years of experience in B2B technology and telecom journalism and has worked in various leadership editorial roles in the past, including incubating and successfully running Grey Head Media for 11 years. Prior to starting Grey Head Media, he worked with 9.9 Media, IDG India and Indian Express.

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