(Pictured above: Award winners are recognized at the Riverbed Partner Summit 2018, April 30.)
**Editor’s Note: Read our list of 20 top SD-WAN providers offering products and services via channel partners.**
RIVERBED PARTNER SUMMIT — Riverbed Technology is pushing its partners to think of it as more than a WAN optimization company.
“If you have us pigeon-holed in your networking group, you will never be able to take advantage of the digital experience; it’s a different animal,” said Bridget Bisnette, vice president of global channels and commercial sales.
Bisnette, a former Cisco executive who took the helm of Riverbed’s channel operations a year ago, opened the company’s 2018 Partner Summit in Huntington Beach, California, with a call to action. The San Francisco-based company’s partners must become “shape-shifters.” Riverbed, which stepped into the SD-WAN market a couple of years ago, and has now rebranded as “the digital performance company.”
She called on partners to evolve.
“I would argue that IT channels have been doing this forever. You guys have maneuvered through client server, through security, through data center, through IP telephony,” she said. “You have transformed your services and your value to the customer as all of these market transitions have occurred.”
A sobering number from @bbisnette: 40 percent of partners will go out of business two years from now.
— James Anderson (@JamesAndersonCP) April 30, 2018
Riverbed earlier this year announced Rise, its updated partner program. One of the big changes was moving rewards from competencies to performance.
Bisnette said Monday that the customer drives Riverbed’s channel strategy. She said the company will grow through existing partners, “insertion points” with key OEM partners and “strategic aggregation points.”
“We are in customer-acquisition mode, and our goal is to extend our franchise across existing accounts. So we’re not actively recruiting a bunch of partners; however, we will execute on some strategic surgical initiatives.”
Bisnette reported that partners have brought in more new customers in 2018 than they did in all of 2017. Refresh doubled, and the 5,000 deal registrations in this year’s first quarter surpassed the 2017 average of 3,600.
Hansang Bae, Riverbed’s chief technology officer, gave partners a deeper dive into the company’s technology. He said SD-WAN presents an opportunity that comes around only every 20-25 years.
SD-WAN’s ability to prioritize application traffic meets major customer demand.
“We all know that performance is [absolutely necessary]. You have to have performance,” Bae said. “But why? Because now the power has shifted to the consumer side. Everyone of your customers has a megaphone attached to their complaint or – hopefully – compliment.”
Bae made note of competitors – specifically VeloCloud – that describe their product as providing …