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SonicWALL Partners Expect Positive Changes From Dell Separation

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**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in May-June 2016.**

Edward GatelyDELL SECURITY PEAK 16 — No more competition from Dell’s direct sales force, more agility and quicker development cycles are some of the positives a number of channel partners see from SonicWALL becoming an independent company.

A hot topic at this week’s Peak16 conference is Dell selling off its software division, and what this will mean for partners. In June, Dell announced it was selling its software division, including Quest Software and its SonicWALL security business, to private equity firm Francisco Partners and the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management for more than $2 billion. The deal should close at the end of the third quarter.

Cerdant's Mike JohnsonA number of Dell SonicWALL partners spoke with Channel Partners about the upcoming separation. At the end of September, the company will simply be known as SonicWALL and the new Secure First Partner Program will launch, say Dell SonicWALL executives.

Cerdant became a SonicWALL partner 15 years ago, and is a SonicWALL-only shop, said Mike Johnson, president and CEO.

“I think it’s all good for SonicWALL, and during the Dell ownership years there was some measure of conflict between the Dell direct force and the channel,” he told Channel Partners. “I think they solve a lot of that problem by this spinoff here, and I think it’s positive news for everyone, frankly.”

Johnson said the new partner program’s incentives won’t have any impact on his company because “the purpose … is always to change the behavior of partners, and that behavior change you want is for them to sell more of your stuff.”{ad}

“And because we’re a SonicWALL-only shop, incentives don’t affect us that much,” he said. “We sell as much as we can all the time. Also, we partnered with Dell early on after the (SonicWALL) acquisition to provide them professional services and that has grown our business more than anything. And that is likely to continue on the same after the separation.”

Dell SonicWALL executives said the new partner program is going to include a renewed emphasis on supporting MSPs.

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“I don’t really know what that (support) is going to look like yet,” Johnson said. “They threw some stuff on the screen and there wasn’t much substance, but I’m expecting to hear that substance in the next few days while we’re here. I’m looking forward to that; there [are] some things that we bring to the table as an MSP that we take an awful lot of support off their hands.”

Stronghold Data also has been a SonicWALL partner since before it was acquired by Dell, said Brad Schneider (pictured above, left), the company’s project director.

“Everything is …

{vpipagebreak}

… an upside right now with the independence,” he said. “When I’ve spoken with the engineers, one of the things that they’re most excited about is their QA (quality assurance) is now going to be shortened so they can bring new features out in a very aggressive way.”

Jason Rincker, Stronghold Data’s sales director (pictured above, right), said what he’s hearing from Dell SonicWALL executives “excites” him.

“From what I’ve heard this morning here at Peak 16 has given more confidence in moving forward with this transition just based on some of the information they shared today,” he said. “I even reached out to one of the individuals that’s helping develop that (partner) program so I can even learn more.”{ad}

Napa Valley Networks' Julie NeelyJulie Neely, founding partner of Napa Valley Networks, a smaller organization in the Napa Valley, has been a SonicWALL partner since 2000.

“We’ve been with them quite a while so we’ve been through all the changes that have happened,” she said. “We sell only SonicWALL. We’ve been through this a lot with them obviously — public, private, and then they were owned. In my experience, what happens is it … takes them a little bit to get up and get going, to get focused again, but the product itself is really what it’s about for us. It’s a solid product, we love their services, we love their support.”

As SonicWALL goes through changes, “it gets a little rough, and then they always make it right,” Neely said.

“And we’re excited about this because they’re taking it from something where it’s a bigger picture down to what it used to be, which is a much smaller picture, very focused on the technology and moving that forward,” she said. “And we’re really excited about the new channel partnerships that we’ll get based on that.”


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