**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
If there’s one thing that will ruin your day, it’s having to roll a truck to a customer site. Opengear is looking to minimize that expense – and help you help customer IT teams avoid those dreaded late-night 911 calls – via a slate of remote management and monitoring software for IT and communications gear. Last month it even announced zero-touch provisioning of Server Technology’s PRO1 and PRO2 PDUs. In addition to ServerTech, Opengear has strategic alliances with AT&T, Cisco, NetApp, the Open Compute Project and Verizon.
The company competes with Lantronix, Raritan, Vertiv and others but stands out for its vendor-agnostic approach, specialization and support for OCP hardware. We caught up with Americas channel sales manager Bryan Keepers to find out what’s new with Opengear’s tech lineup and channel program.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about Opengear’s offering. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Bryan Keepers: I believe much of the reason behind Opengear’s success has been the focus of our product line. We primarily offer out-of-band console servers, which has allowed our development team to create fantastic products that have almost a cult following among our customers and channel partners.
For network engineers, the ability to access any of their IT infrastructure locations remotely in the middle of the night – whether at a data center or a faraway branch office – relieves a huge potential area of stress. We make their lives easier. I believe that is our secret sauce.
CP: Describe Opengear’s channel program — metal levels, importance of certifications, open or selective, unique features?
BK: Our channel program remains intentionally simple. We offer our complete line of products for sale to any reseller without requiring certifications. With that, we support their efforts with regional sales and sales engineers to help uncover, scope and close business where it occurs. We also provide sales and marketing tools to help with that sale, such as deal registration and collateral tailored to specific vertical markets.
Additionally, Opengear offers a Premier Partner level to selected partners who are helping drive our products to enterprise customers with both data center and remote-site applications. This program provides additional benefits such as tailored sales trainings, customer marketing and other initiatives to help drive the business.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
BK: Seventy-five percent of our business is through our reseller channel. We currently have over 400 partners in North America, with that number growing by 20-40 new partners per quarter.
CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes Opengear’s offering better?
BK: Lantronix, Raritan, and Vertiv (Avocent) are our primary competitors. While out-of-band (OOB) is a secondary market for them, Opengear is focused exclusively on OOB unlike other providers.
Our key differentiators are:
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