Commvault CMO brings data protection message to the South Pole in 2041 Foundation expedition

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Commvault CMO Chris Powell is probably used to navigating the slush and icy roads during the typical winter months, but his recent expedition to the South Pole was a matter of getting used to the whiteouts and “snow quakes.”

When you’re skiing over the snow, for example, ice crystals that have formed over time routinely fall apart, creating air pockets called snow quakes that make a loud, almost muffled sound like thunder. Slightly more awe-inspiring are the whiteouts, which does not refer to a blizzard in this case but those moments where the sky and ground blend together to the exact same shade of whiteness.

“You’re sort of walking in an environment that is incredibly daunting. It’s you and the sled you’re pulling,” Powell recalled in an interview with B2B News Network. “Without equipment like a compass or GPS, it’s exceedingly different to walk in a straight line. You learn a lot from that experience in terms of team dynamics, of relying on the data.”

That idea of relying on data is core to Commvault, whose backup and recovery tools, among other products and services, safeguard information for all kinds of companies. Powell was travelling last month in the company of Robert Swan, whose 2041 Foundation is was using devices powered by clean energy technologies to underscore the environmental threats facing areas like the South Pole.

Robert Swan with Commvault’s Powell

Powell said he first connected with Swan after Commvault hired him to speak at its sales kick-off and then a recent user conference, where the idea of joining the last 10 days of the 2041 Foundation’s 600-mile South Pole Energy Challenge originally came up.

“I realized there was a great parallel” between Swan’s mission and that of Commvault, Powell said. “Just rethinking how they’re utilizing resources — in the data protection business, a smart strategy is one that is very cognizant and conserves resources.”

Commvault became the expedition’s official “data partner,” which meant using its Secure File Sharing and other tools to make sure Swan’s team could protect all the photos and videos that were captured along the way.

“He hadn’t really thought about the data protection needs,” said. “As we talked, he realized how heavily dependent their organization is on data, and how dependent the expedition is on data.”

Of course, joining Swan and partnering with his foundation gives Commvault a compelling way to get the attention of enterprise buyers who might not give data protection the attention it deserves, unless a disaster strikes.

“There are a lot of companies that are doing innovative things with their data, but if you hit pause and rewind 18 months, they needed a strategy behind that,” he said. “We need to stop creating data needs in silos because it’s expensive, riskier and ultimately unpractical in terms of people resources. You need efficiency across the board.”

Commvault has also signed a three-year managed services agreement with the 2041 Foundation and will use the content from Powell’s experiences in videos and other social content.

“This was definitely the hardest and probably craziest thing I’ve done,” said Powell, who has run triathlons and charity bike rides. “I consider myself am amateur athlete, but I think my wife considers me a professional idiot.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.