Year in Perspective – Twenty notable Initiatives of 2020 (20/20)
2020 was a notable year in many ways for all, and it was no exception for Aryaka. As we begin the new year, it is also a good time to reflect and take pride on the accomplishments of the past year, learn from new ventures, and re-apply ourselves to the next set of challenges and opportunities that are ahead.
So, here’s 20/20 – a list of twenty notable initiatives the team undertook in no particular priority
#1: Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) Offerings for Regional and Hybrid Deployments
Aryaka introduced new SD-WAN as-a-service offerings focused on regional and hybrid deployments supplementing global deployments and expanding addressable market opportunity. Last mile procurement and monitoring services also increased delivering more value to customers globally.
#2: Technology Partnership ecosystem
#3: Managed and Hosted Firewall-as-a-service (network security-as-a-service)
Aryaka introduced hosted and/or managed firewall-as-a-service with brand name security vendors like Check Point software and Palo Alto technologies integrated into Aryaka ANAP service edge footprint delivering converged network and security solutions with lower TCO to customers. The combination of Aryaka’s best of breed network-as-a-service with network-security as a service began laying the ground work for Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
#:4: Private Access to enable Hybrid workplaces
For enterprises dealing with making the remote work force productive, Aryaka rolled out private access VPN-a-a-service solution to enable hybrid workplace environments delivering predictable application performance regardless of user, site, on-premises or cloud-based deployments.
#5. New Aryaka website with refreshed brand and logo
It was time to refresh the core identity of Aryaka to be aligned with its DNA. This resulted in a brand new website, new brand images, playbooks and indeed a new logo, that was quite subtle in the change that it brought about. Collectively these embraced the core identity of the company that delivered a compelling WAN architecture built on a Cloud-First approach emphasizing on operational simplicity, a stellar experience and an as-a-service consumption model that provided the “easy button” for enterprises.
#6. Localized websites for Germany, China, Korea and Japan
As part of the expanding global thrust, Aryaka unveiled new websites in the German, Chinese, Korean and Japanese languages with localized collateral and regional outreaches. New sales resources were also added in a few of these countries. A new French website is also underway.
#7. New Channel Partnerships
Aryaka’s channel partners enjoy faster paths to profitability and see the benefits from increased customer loyalty and expansion. In 2020, Aryaka signed new partnerships with several channel partners globally. These included the likes of SYNNEX, Controlware, e92, T-Systems Switzerland, Orange Business Systems, Vodafone Fiji, Dr Peng Telecom, Respiro, Soft Sand, Rahi, and Veryx. New partnerships continue to expand in 2021.
#8. Global Headcount increase and we leased a new corporate office
The company increased its hiring commensurate with areas of growth to top over 400 employees and the highest since its inception. New recruits were welcomed across all areas of the company and in several countries worldwide. Even though the pandemic forced most employees to work from home, we also moved to a new corporate headquarters in San Mateo, right across the parking lot to a new facility
#9. The 4th Annual State of the WAN report
The annual report surveyed over 1000 enterprises worldwide to provide deep insights into the state of the WAN. This was published as a full-fledged book and is available for download on the Aryaka website as well.
#10. Pricing Simplification and Flex pricing
As customers embraced subscription pricing, and as-a-service delivery models, Aryaka has continued to make pricing simplification and relevance top of mind. 2020 brought in several innovations in the areas of flex pricing aligned with cloud-consumption models that allowed enterprises to manage change better and map services to utilization needs.
#11. Gartner Peer Review Customer Choice Ratings at 4.8 rating!
With 4.8 out of 5 stars, Aryaka received high ratings and recognition in the Gartner peer insights customer choice report for WAN edge infrastructure. The customer feedback was especially stellar considering Aryaka was the ONLY managed provider featured and ahead of traditional box vendors like Cisco and VMware.
#12. Forrester WAVE debut as “strong performer”
In October 2020, Aryaka also featured as a strong performer in the Forrester WAVE report, where it was clubbed with traditional Telcos and MSPs and lauded for its highly integrated solution and services that brought both the technology and services in a seamless manner for its customers.
#13. Social Media spike with 100+% Increase in LinkedIn followers
Company-wide training was provided on leveraging social media, including building internal awareness and fun competitions all backed by quality content. All these resulted in doubling LinkedIn followers and engagement. Aryaka’s LinkedIn base grew from 15,000 followers in Q2 of 2019 to over 46,000 by the end of 2020 with the platform serving to enhance brand engagement and bring in qualified prospects
#14. Growth acceleration with higher subscription revenue
Despite the impact of Covid-19 and the vast shift in workplace demographics, we saw increase in deal sizes, as customers embraced converged offerings bringing together SD-WAN as-a-service, last mile connectivity, managed firewall and remote access offerings. Deal sizes increased with the larger deals being multi-year subscriptions. Aryaka is a 100% subscription revenue company apart from some incidentals. The higher revenue was complemented by sustained reduction in customer and revenue churn with increased investments in customer support and success.
#15. Multiple awards Including Great Place to Work and Inc 500
#16. Cloud-First WAN for Dummies book
Aryaka co-authored the Dummies book and it became one of the top asset downloaded on our websites and in other places, providing a concise, easy to read material for those engaged in planning their next-generation WAN infrastructure
#17. Hosted Strategic and Technical Advisory Boards; Shift to Digital
Adjusting to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Aryaka hosted our CIO customer advisory board (CAB) and technical advisory board (TAB) meetings virtually. Despite the lack of an in-person setting, the meetings brought in good interaction with new insights and impetus. Aryaka also participated in several CIO events virtually even as the event mix shifted primarily to digital and webinars, as traditional tradeshows and physical congregations were entirely replaced due to the pandemic
#18. Increased pipeline predictability with uptick in gross margins and net MRR
All the quarters of 2020 experienced sequential growth with healthy gross margins, including being EBITDA positive towards one of the quarters, all signs of a business that is vital. A lot of this came about with increasing focus on pipeline, real-time dashboards with analytics, rigid BANT processes, nurturing, ABM practices as well as enabling channels all of which resulted in pipeline increasing 3-4X over the course of the year.
#19. Partner Portal refresh and new partner assets
Keeping in mind that partners need access to good content, training and an easier engagement model, we refreshed the partner portal, created new partner-friendly assets, newsletters and brought in ways to continue to reduce the friction of engagement and go-to-market interlock.
#20. Media footprint expanded; Blog uptick also continues
The pace of innovation, customer wins, awards and thought leadership outreaches were healthy. This resulted in 27 Aryaka generated press releases, 8 Aryaka supported releases and 250+ independent media articles. Share of voice measured in countries like the UK, increased by 72%. Meanwhile, Aryakans contributed to 60+ blogs during the year on a variety of topics.
Navigating change through uncertainty is never easy. Despite the ups and downs of an unusual year it was great to see the Aryaka team as a whole come together as one to deliver. New employees were interviewed onboarded without coming to the office and missed the camaraderie of office lunches and outings. Customers voted with their dollars and partners strengthened relationships. Kudos to the entire team for having prevailed.
2021 holds promise in more ways than one. I am optimistic and excited for the year ahead!