CMO Making Hybrid Multicloud a Business Imperative

In this profile, Nutanix Chief Marketing Officer Mandy Dhaliwal tells how her passion for marketing at an early age led to a career opportunity that’s shaping how the world understands and embraces hybrid multicloud IT.

By Tom Mangan

By Tom Mangan March 23, 2023

She has a knack for seeing what’s ahead and inspiring people to move in the right direction. Her career is a window on how marketing has evolved rapidly in recent years to become a critical part of any thriving business. Now as chief marketing officer (CMO) for Nutanix, Mandy Dhaliwal is blending knowledge with emotion and digital capabilities to show IT leaders why hybrid multicloud software and services are essential to their future.

Dhaliwal is responsible for raising Nutanix’s profile in the eyes of people leading digital transformation inside businesses, governments and organizations around the world. Nutanix pioneered hyperconverged infrastructure and has evolved to provide innovative software for managing hybrid multicloud IT systems. As more enterprises modernize their IT operations to manage an explosion in business applications and data across different types of systems, Nutanix, a maturing, multi-billion dollar hybrid multicloud software subscription company, is chasing an $80 billion market opportunity. 

“This is our time as marketers,” Dhaliwal’s said in an interview with The Forecast by Nutanix. “I'm here to help move the needle in this business.”


CMO Mandy Dhaliwal Points Way to Hybrid Multicloud Future

Moving the needle means helping IT leaders and decision makers see and feel confident that Nutanix technology is the ideal architecture for their modern business. As more IT teams build out their hybrid multicloud capabilities, Dhaliwal’s team must show that Nutanix gives them control over their future. She’s determined to make Nutanix more credible, relatable, helpful and charismatic.

The company’s Enterprise Cloud Index report released in March 2023 showed that the majority (60%) of respondents use more than one IT infrastructure, whether it is a mix of private and public clouds, multiple public clouds, or an on-premises data center along with a hosted data center. Results of the survey revealed that number is expected to grow to nearly three quarters (74%) in the near future. However, mixed infrastructures create new management challenges, and 94% of respondents say they'd benefit from having a single, unified place to manage applications and data across their diverse environments. That’s where the Nutanix Cloud Platform and other cloud software from the company come into help.

Sure, Dhaliwal’s team sets up tradeshow booths and nurtures relationships with channel partners, as tech-marketing executives have done for decades. But her team increasingly uses powerful digital tools to drive her revenue marketing organization.

“I'm not here to put our name on socks,” she said.

She said the role of marketing historically connotes tactical stuff, but the reputation of marketing is changing dramatically. 

“When I started my career, we were the ad people, not quite Mad Men, but that was our world,” she said. “And now you look at how data-driven marketing has become, all the tools we use and how much of an impact we have on sourcing, influencing opportunities and contributing to revenue.”

She said marketing has become business critical. In this economy especially, without an efficient, automated engine that drives recurring revenue from new customer acquisition to adoption, expansion and renewals, subscription businesses will atrophy and die. As CMO, Dhaliwal aims to help Nutanix grow by demonstrating how Nutanix's platform can bring much-needed order to the chaos of managing their workloads across disparate environments across public cloud, edge and on-prem via Nutanix's single pane of glass.

“As I look at marketing analytics dashboards, and compare data across my peer benchmarks, I'm looking for patterns in terms of operational metrics on brand and demand,” she said, describing how she and her team use digital tools to inform strategies and decisions. Those tools don’t provide answers as much as they help her ask the right questions that lead to desired outcomes.

Mandy Dhaliwal headshot

Mandy Dhaliwal joined Nutanix as CMO in April 2022.

“Where are we driving growth, which segments and regions, what verticals and what's happening in the macro environment?  What's the story that's resonating? If I can get to that level of specificity, I know what's working and I know what needs to be improved.”

“It's a highly complex algorithm that we have to codify ourselves. And every business has to do this. And, the companies that are really good at it are the ones that are scaling quickly. That's the secret sauce.”

Historic Time for Cloud Marketing

Marketers blend real with digital world experiences to educate and then engage target audiences like never before. It’s not easy to break through today’s noisy, multichannel world, but Dhaliwal strives for clarity, purpose and real value propositions. Her skills arrive at Nutanix during a pivotal time as more IT professionals drive digital transformation in their companies with the help of cloud computing technologies. This is disrupting the status quo for how businesses operate and unlocking new value and services for governments, financial services, retail, manufacturing, transportation and other industries. 

Cloud is perhaps the greatest growth market the world has ever known, according to industry analyst Bob Evans. It’s also the biggest infrastructure that humanity has ever built, something Northwestern University professor and researcher Mark Mills told The Forecast in an interview. In his book, The Cloud Revolution: How the Convergence of Technologies will Unleash the Next Economic Boom and a Roaring 2020s, Mills explains how cloud computing technologies are sparking a once-in-a-century explosion in human creativity and productivity. It’s a dramatic backdrop for anyone taking the marketing reins at a cloud company. 

“This next iteration of the business world really is heavily dependent on marketing,” Dhaliwal said. 

“You have to have the right technology, but it's about how you get that message into the market and how you drive that value prop into the market in an efficient way. That's what I am looking to do for this business.”


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Filling the pipeline with prospects and delivering clear value propositions is how Dhaliwal’s team gets customers to sign new or renew contracts to use Nutanix software. This is how marketing feeds growth that generates revenue.

It All Started on a Raspberry Farm

Growth has been Dhaliwal’s top priority since she got into the technology sector more than two decades ago. Her story connects strands of automation from home-grown agriculture to modern manufacturing to the latest innovations in technology marketing.

Dhaliwal’s family grew raspberries near Vancouver, British Columbia. The oldest of four, she and her siblings had to chip in to harvest the berries every year. But the farm evolved, undergoing the transformation to automation.

“Just in my childhood, we went from hand-picking fruit to the advent of the harvester, a massive machine with rows of claws that eliminated the need for manual labor,” she recalled. “In my professional career, I’ve seen similar, massive changes reshape the marketing world.” 


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After finishing at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, she earned an MBA at Pepperdine University. She went on to work at some big-named companies, including EMC and Dell’s Boomi.  

“At Nutanix, I saw a lot of opportunity to get more customer-centered, focus on scaleable business growth and really unlock the force multiplication of the partner ecosystem,” she said.

“My brain is always focused on ‘how do we grow this thing the right way. How do we get more strategic? That's the opportunity I saw at Nutanix.”

Marketer and Sommelier

Dhaliwal’s first job out of college was marketing for a Canadian bank. She soon moved into B2B marketing in Canada’s telecom sector. 

“I was running various marketing segments and demand generation,” she recalled. “But in the back of my mind, I always had a yearning to go play in the big leagues in Silicon Valley.”

Legato Systems, a storage software vendor, was her ticket to the Valley. The company was acquired by EMC, where Dhaliwal continued to work until she and her husband decided to start a family. That’s when she paused her marketing career. 

“I did not want to outsource the raising of my child and I was fortunate enough to pause my career aspirations and focus on being a full-time Mom,” she said. 

When her son reached kindergarten age, she dove deeper into a long-time passion.

“I went to wine school and got my sommelier certification.”


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Dhaliwal is keenly aware of how the wine industry relies on digital marketing and how it embraces technologies to aid in grape growing and wine-making processes. 

“The best winemakers use tech to preserve the unique characteristics of the grape varietal, the vintage and the terroir, so it goes into your glass in its most original form,” she said. “I nerd out on stuff like that.”

Bringing the Cloud to Agriculture 2.0

With her roots in a family farming business, Dhaliwal is an astute observer of technology’s role in transforming pretty much any process where humans plant seeds in the hope of a profit. She notes the changes at companies like John Deere, whose famous green farm machinery has been keeping the world fed for generations.

“The John Deeres of the world are becoming digital tech companies,” she said. “They’re not just in the lawnmower and tractor business anymore. They’re using technology, including driverless technologies, to help make farmers' lives easier and greener and to drive automation further.”

Some folks call this trend Agriculture 2.0. It combines sensors in the field with experiments in the laboratory to make farming more productive and attuned to the tastes of 21st-century consumers.


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Naturally, she can connect farming to her career as a technology marketer. Nutanix’s product line is built on hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), which uses software to virtualize the data center functions of compute, storage and networking. HCI environments use automation to help developers rapidly spin up production and testing environments, which helps them get products to market faster and respond to market changes with much greater agility.

While the average farm might not use an enterprise technology like HCI, the companies enabling Agriculture 2.0 certainly will use cloud tools to ingest and manage data and develop secure backup systems. 

“Even if we don't go directly to the farmer, we are certainly delivering value to that ecosystem,” Dhaliwal said.

Winning with Technology Marketing Today

Before coming to Nutanix, Dhaliwal led and transformed a global marketing team that helped Boomi, a Dell subsidiary, quadruple its business in five years, resulting in a $4 billion exit with a private equity firm. 

“I am fueled by deep curiosity. I have a need to become a domain expert,” she said. “I've done every single functional role within marketing. I understand what the people who work for me are grappling with, so I can really be an advisor and business partner to them to help drive our business and their personal career growth.”


Finding an Efficient Way to Hybrid Multicloud

At Boomi, she became an expert on growing subscription revenue and scaling brand awareness. That skill is critically needed at Nutanix, which operates on a subscription model.  

When she started in technology marketing, the primary focus went much more toward advertising — mostly creative for things like trade magazine ads and trade show booths, with a dabbling of data in a support role. 

“Since then, we've become much more balanced as a discipline in terms of the creative and the data,” she said.

The biggest challenge for marketers today is using the right communication channels, messaging and strategy to support a company’s reputation for delivering phenomenal customer experiences. Of course, the brand’s technology must do its job. But marketers must keep the company's reputation in mind when crafting campaigns that connect with customers and build trust.

“From the first touch, the journey has to be world class because we're measured at every single loop of that process.”

Bringing it all together, from the farm to the winery to the halls of Silicon Valley tech firms, continues to push technology marketing into the future, making it an essential part of business success.

“When done right, marketing becomes a strategic growth driver for business,” Dhaliwal said. “And that's what fuels and energizes me every single day.”

Tom Mangan is a contributing writer. He is a veteran B2B technology writer and editor, specializing in cloud computing and digital transformation. Contact him on his website or LinkedIn.

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