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‘7 Minutes’ with iland Channel Director Koorosh Khashayar

**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a new feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**

Secure cloud hosting, disaster recovery and backup services are the name of the game to iland. The Houston-based provider has a global presence, with eight data centers in North America, EMEA and APAC. It’s received awards from Veeam, VMware and Zerto in recent years, and last month Forrester named iland a leader in its Q2 2017 list of disaster-recovery-as-a-service providers.

iland's Koorosh KhashayarKoorosh Khashayar, channel director at iland Cloud, answered some questions for us.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your company.

Koorosh Khashayar: Customers love our platform. If you take a step back and look at the life of an IT administrator and what they strive for, it’s all about control, isn’t it? They live and breathe processes that give them visibility into their environments.

Now, bring the cloud into the picture. With most cloud companies, once data is stored or failed over to the cloud, all of the control and visibility that the IT administrator once had is gone. The cloud provider is now the gatekeeper for all of the data. But it doesn’t have to be like that! Here at iland, we have spent two decades listening to our customers. In the last 10 years, we’ve been dedicated to making our platform transparent to them — and they love us for that.{ad}

Through the iland Secure Cloud Console, customers receive in-depth access and visibility to all of our powerful management features across billing, performance, security, compliance, testing and reporting.  Customers have complete control and visibility with iland; they don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.

CP: Describe your channel program — levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective?

KK: We have three options within our channel program: agent, reseller and managed service provider. Whether you are looking to refer a customer to iland and collect recurring commissions, resell our services at generous margins and own the billing relationship, or include our platform in a larger service offering, we have the right program.

We’ve built our channel based on the needs of the partner, with no barriers to entry and growth.

With our agent program, certification is optional. We are here to support our agent community and take a co-selling approach. If the agent wants to get more involved and go through our sales training, we highly recommend that, but it’s not a requirement. We do, however, require …

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… sales and technical training for both our reseller and MSP partners. After all, the better they understand our solution stack, the better they are able to sell and support iland’s solutions.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

KK: Percentage of sales: Our channel program is on pace to outperform our direct sales numbers. Our new model will attract a lot of new partners to help foster even more growth.

Number of partners: We have over 100 active partners. It has always been about selection, not collection for us. We have a select group of partners that we have built deep relationships with, and we continue to cultivate those relationships.{ad}

Average margin: 15-25 percent.

CP: What is the one thing that makes you stand out from competitors?

KK: It is without a doubt our technology. I started my career as a techie and eventually moved into sales and managing partner programs. No matter what hat I was wearing, I’ve always emphasized the importance of a company’s technology and how it’s supported.

I suggest looking under the hood when you’re about to select a cloud provider and try to take their solution for a test drive. At iland, we offer a variety of test drive and POC options for backup, DRaaS, and IaaS. Before you jump in, I think it’s important to note that we’ve built our cloud on VMware vCloud, an industry-leading enterprise cloud technology. For many channel partners, the use of this familiar platform has eased their transition and time to market.

We’ve also natively integrated advanced security features into our platform, which is fully certified and compliant with a number of industry regulations. This is essential in helping our customers and channel partners respond to an environment of increased risk from cyber attacks, ransomware and other threats. Once you’ve taken iland’s secure services for a spin, you’ll see that the platform speaks for itself.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

KK: As more and more businesses are executing their cloud goals, integration and automation will continue to be key features in the solutions they choose. Over the next several years, iland will be investing heavily in our API and simplifying our integration processes to stay competitive and offer the best solution to our customers — as well as continuing to …

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… invest in cloud security and compliance, which is a priority for our customers and for us.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that timeframe?

KK: You have to change when your partners’ needs change. We’ll work with our partners to continue to support them in whatever capacity possible. For many of our partners, being able to simplify the packaging, positioning and delivery of a holistic solution is essential to their business. We have other partners that are looking to build a highly differentiated and value-added service on a platform. We will continue to support and invest in both approaches. Our priority is to ensure that our partners are able to address customers’ needs with innovative solutions.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

KK: iland is making huge strides in the industry. Most recently, we received the Cloud Security Alliance’s Security, Trust, & Assurance Registry (STAR) Gold Certification. We are one of only two providers to have achieved this level of certification. It’s a testament to the quality of our services and compliance standards to be a part of the select few.{ad}

Last year, we were humbled to receive both Veeam’s and Zerto’s Cloud Partner of the Year awards. It was the first year that either of the strategic partners recognized a cloud provider. Gartner and Forrester both named us as leaders for DRaaS in their most recent reports, and we’re ecstatic about the things they had to say. The reports are a great validation for our ability to execute, commitment to customer service and innovation.

Last, but not least, I think partners should know that we’re continuing to grow our international footprint. In June, we’ll be adding two new data center locations — Amsterdam and Sydney. These new locations come as a supplement to our existing data centers in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore, and we’re excited to expand our business even further.


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