Extreme is updating its channel program in multiple areas as it joins forces with Aerohive, according to Gordon Mackintosh, vice president of worldwide channels. Extreme, which runs 86% of business through partners, announced in June that it would purchase Aerohive for about $272 million. The acquisition went final earlier this month.
Mackintosh told Channel Partners that his conversations with dozens of partners revealed “an awful lot of excitement around the acquisition.” There’s something in it for both parties. Mackintosh said Extreme partners are happy to access HiveManager, which is Aerohive’s unified wired and Wi-Fi cloud management platform, as well as SD-WAN. Aerohive partners can consolidate their portfolios by joining forces with a larger company like Extreme.
“Many of them sell switching and other technologies for some of our competitors, so the opportunity to standard on one vendor is exciting for them,” Mackintosh said.
It’s Extreme’s fourth acquisition in Mackintosh’s three years with the company. Extreme has bought Brocade’s data center business, Avaya’s networking business and Zebra Technologies’ WLAN business, and Mackintosh described those acquisitions as involving overlapping technology.
Although Extreme and Aerohive share some portfolio similarities, “with Aerohive, we’re really buying the software, the platform, the go-to-market and the opportunity for us to include some of the Extreme solutions on top of that platform,” he said.
Mackintosh said the HiveManager platform will connect multiple Extreme technologies and enable managed services for partners. To help accomplish that end, Extreme launched a rebate program for HiveManager. Elite and premier-ranked Aerohive partners, and diamond and gold Extreme partners can access a 5% back-end rebate for selling the platform.
Mackintosh said HiveManager gives partners insight into the customer’s network and helps them make quick adjustments to improve customer experience.
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“We want to drive the HiveManager solution as aggressively as possible, because we believe the platform will allow partners to really fine-tune the network to exactly what the customer wants and for them to manage that network to drive the highest level productivity for customers,” he said.
Extreme is building on channel strategies that it successfully used last year — one of those being “focus partners.” The company in 2018 designated certain partners as “focus partners” and gave them a partner account manager and a channel solutions engineer. Those partners grew 10% faster than the overall business. Mackintosh said focus-partner resources will increase by 50%, in the form of new systems engineers and partner account managers. He predicted that focus partners will be able to cover 75% of Extreme’s channel revenue.
Extreme Networks completes acquisition of Aerohive Networks to make infrastructure smarter, more autonomous, and the driver of business value. https://t.co/PpQIw5JMxU @Extreme_ITA @ExtremeNetworks pic.twitter.com/f4LSefFzei
— Extreme Italia (@Extreme_ITA) August 20, 2019
“We’re investing in people and resources to expand the strategy to cover more partners,” he said.
He said Extreme is building an inside partner account manager team to serve the other partners, ensuring that each partner from Extreme and Aerohive has either a dedicated field-based resource or an inside resource for support.
The vendor also is growing its stable of enablement and training offerings. Extreme increased its number of online/virtual classrooms, and its Extreme Dojo helps partners earn recognition for the training they’ve completed. Mackintosh said partners with two specializations average a 20% growth rate. Three of those specializations are Smart OmniEdge, Agile Data Center and Automated Campus. Extreme is adding an MSP specialization in conjunction with the Aerohive acquisition.
“We know that when the partners become enabled, they get more well-known within Extreme, so we have the opportunity to bring them opportunities,” he said. “And they’re more skilled and capable in our technology, so they feel more confident in selling our solutions to their customers. It’s a real win-win.”
Mackintosh said Extreme also is investing in …