A Great Place to Work With – Zumasys President Paul Giobbi on NetApp’s Culture

The Great Place to Work® Institute’s recent recognition of NetApp as the #3 best place to work in the world on the 2013 “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” list validates the fact that NetApp is a great place to work for. But is it a great place to work with? NetApp360 sat down with Paul Giobbi, president of Zumasys, a NetApp partner, to get his perspective on how NetApp’s culture transcends our workplace and impacts their offices.


Can you briefly tell readers what Zumasys does and how long you’ve been working with NetApp?


Zumasys helps organizations move their core business applications to the cloud. We’ve been working with NetApp for seven years as both a reseller and a cloud service provider partner. NetApp is at the core of our cloud-computing platform, and overall it represents close to 40% of our business. The strength of NetApp’s culture and technology makes them a partner that we definitely gravitate toward.


NetApp CEO Tom Georgens’ proudest moments are when customers and partners tell him, “it just feels different doing business with NetApp.” What is it like to work with NetApp?


In our 13 years in business, we’ve never had such reciprocity with a partner. With vendors it can be very one-sided. But we keep delivering growth and new customers to NetApp and NetApp, in turn, continues to invest in our company and our engineers. NetApp makes possible events like Zumapalooza, our annual Customer Solutions Summit in Las Vegas. I truly believe that they care about what’s important to Zumasys, which I think comes from the example set by NetApp’s leaders. They are very focused on the people side of the business, especially Tom Mendoza, who spoke at Zumapalooza early on and helped to set the tone for our own focus on culture and people. Being a great place to work is not just an internal campaign for these guys; it’s part of their DNA from the top down.


NetApp continually innovates and invests to enable the success of our customers and partners. What have you been able to achieve through your partnership with NetApp?


Seven years ago we were on the bleeding edge of the cloud-computing trend, and our platform needed to be reengineered to scale. We had several siloed technologies and islands of storage, and adding a new customer to our cloud was laborious and often painful. Once we vetted the solution, we quickly moved our cloud platform to NetApp, and today it’s the backbone of our platform. NetApp allowed us to scale our cloud platform quickly to meet the needs of our customers, and it is no wonder that NetApp represents the majority of our internal data center spending. To me that’s one check I am always happy to write. We wouldn’t be as successful in the cloud as we are without NetApp.


Employees at NetApp enjoy their benefits and thrive when the company invests in their success and professional development. What do you enjoy about working at your company?


People always ask, “What do you do?” I like to say, “Rather than tell you what we do, let me tell you what makes our company exciting.” I personally love seeing people evolve. I remember Tom Mendoza saying, “you are either getting better or you’re getting worse.” Getting better and evolving also means you’re willing to try new things in your personal life. That’s why, each year, through our International Travel Incentive, six Zumasys employees are awarded a week of paid vacation and a $3,000 stipend to go anywhere in the world outside of North America. They come back with new experiences, different perspectives, and a passion for personal development, which clearly carries through to their work at Zumasys. I’ve learned from NetApp that if you can help people find the “purpose” in their work it can be a powerful motivator. Through our 1% Program, we give 1% of our annual revenue to nonprofit organizations of our employees’ choice. Employees tell us why a charity is important to them and in the process, they see the impact a sizable gift can have; it often starts them on a journey of volunteering or giving. This Thanksgiving, we’re inviting our broader network of customers, friends and vendor partners to find their own purpose through a special program we’ve created with the Second Harvest Food Bank. For as little as $42, you can feed two families this Thanksgiving, which we are very excited about.