Cohesity Kicks Off Partner Program, Hires EMC Vet as Channel Boss

Edward Gately**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in January or here for a list of January’s important channel-program changes you should know.**

Cohesity on Wednesday introduced its Revolution Partner Network and the appointment of EMC’s Joe Barnes as head of worldwide channel strategy.

Cohesity's Joe BarnesThe channel program kicks off with more than 30 partners that have strong relationships with enterprise clients. Cohesity said it is “building a robust channel ecosystem to continue addressing common pain points that affect enterprise customers today.”

Recently, Cohesity announced the latest version of its hyperconverged secondary storage product, Cohesity Data Platform 2.0, which includes new performance, management and security features for enterprise customers. The platform is aimed at consolidating all of a customer’s secondary storage, from tape to cloud-archival services, onto scalable appliances with single-pane-of-glass management and easy visibility for analytics.

Barnes previously served as EMC’s West U.S. regional and divisional partner manager, and prior to that he worked at NetApp building its Southwest sales organization.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Barnes talks about why he wanted to join Cohesity and his expectations for the new partner program.{ad}

Channel Partners: What is your vision for building Cohesity’s channel ecosystem?

Joe Barnes: There’s nothing I’ve been thinking about more than this, and it really ties into my reason for wanting to join Cohesity. I see this as such a revolutionary opportunity to disrupt the secondary storage market and I just kept coming back to that.

We’ll be recruiting partners to help us join that revolution. I don’t see this as being a quantity play for the channel. I’m not looking to sign up every VAR under the sun. I’m taking a more strategic approach, trying to align probably two or three key strategic partners in each major market and then we’ll build out from there.

As a startup, we certainly need to be opportunistic where we can and look for opportunities to work with partners that are interested or have opportunities for us. But in terms of a strategy that we’ll be executing on, we’ll be looking at a smaller number of stronger-quality partners that we think fit the model, that have a customer base that is buying into emerging technologies and emerging-type solutions, customers that have the type of problems that we can help solve. That’s a broad statement, but there [are] really some specific use cases that we’re starting to focus in on in the early stages of what we think is the low-hanging fruit for the company.

CP: A Cohesity setup starts at $110,000. Are you considering some way to capture lower-midmarket business?

JB: Right now we’re going to stay pretty focused on …


… the enterprise space. The more data a customer has, the more we’re going to help save them, the more problems we’re going to be able to solve. So we’re going to start off targeting those companies that have the most data. We’re going to stay focused at least initially on the enterprise space and we think there’s probably more opportunity than we can handle in that space alone for the next year or two.

CP: Did partner feedback play a role in the formulation of the partner program?

JB: The main themes for the program are keep it simple, make it very rewarding for the partner, and help them accelerate their business and accelerate their sales into customers.

So with those three themes, I basically decided to flatten out the partner program. We’re going to have one level of membership so to speak, and as we grow, what I’m excited about is looking for the opportunity to build up, we’ll probably create a higher level in the partner program as a second phase once we get about 10 to 12 partners that achieve a significant level of sales with us.

But initially, it’s all about rapid enablement, helping those partners make as much money as possible selling and supporting the Cohesity solutions.

CP: Is this Cohesity’s first partner program outside of individual partner relationships?

JB: There was a basic reseller agreement in place, but this will be the launch of a first official partner program.

CP: With the program in place, where do you want Cohesity to be a year from now in terms of growth and revenue?

JB: We’ve got about 30 partners today and I would like to see that grow to about 120 in the United States by this time next year. We’ve got a number of additional strategic discussions going on with other partners, so that’s probably a conservative target, but I want to stay focused on the strategic partners in those key markets where we’ve got our sales teams.

I can’t comment specifically on revenues, but one of the main reasons I was so interested in joining this is I could see the opportunity for us to go through this phase of hyper growth. The due diligence I did before I came on board with Cohesity, talking to a number of customers that I’ve worked with through the years and partners I’ve worked with over the years, I think this is an incredible opportunity and will be rapidly adopted by the marketplace. 

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