Extreme Channel Chief: Partner Communication Critical During Acquisitions


… what’s going to happen to the technologies, support and pricing. And I don’t think you can ever have enough communication. And if I were to say one thing, it’s maybe we would look to overcommunicate even more than we did. But generally speaking, the feedback I’ve had from the partners is that they felt really well-informed, we said what we were going to do and laid out the road map for them, and we delivered on it.

CP: How is this program different than the programs that preceded it?

GM: We’re working on typically what is industry standard as our baseline, which is focused on growth and solution selling, which is vitally important for us because of the acquisitions and the new customer acquisitions. But what makes this different is we’ve launched a new status called Black Diamond, which will be a loyalty program for our Diamond partners that are willing to build aggressive growth plans with us, and we’ll invest in them and they’ll invest, and it will be highly customized to where they see the opportunity. That plus the new partner experience, which can also be customized and personalized by the partner, really makes this unique. So we have the traditional building blocks of a leading-edge industry partner program, and then we integrated some customizable programs that are customized to the needs and wants of the partner’s business.

The opportunity moving forward for our Diamond partners is really the expanded portfolio that the acquisitions will bring, from the data center to the wireless edge. We’re going to focus on them like never before with enablement and training, and support in order to ensure that they can capitalize on the end-to-end portfolio driven by software. So we’re going to help them lead with software because that will drive higher levels of customer intimacy and higher levels of profit for them, and higher levels of growth. So we’re just in a transition in the market. The Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more mainstream and we’re going to link our partners to that opportunity and help them growth.

CP: Can you elaborate more on emerging opportunities for Extreme partners in IoT?

GM: I personally believe that IoT is what Y2K was for networking in the late 1990s. It’s the second wave and there’s tremendous opportunity in front of us as more and more things become connected. The network is going to be critical. The applications that run across the network to deliver the business outcomes the customers are looking for controlled by Extreme’s software portfolio is going to be critical as well. But what we’re really looking to do is to take that ecosystem approach where we can match-make IoT consultants with our partners who are experts at selling networks driven by software. So the IoT consultants driving conversations around digital transformation of the workplace or the workforce, finding opportunities and then bringing in our loyal Extreme partners to fulfill the networking requirements of the customer.

CP: What happens after the Brocade deal is final in terms of partners?

GM: Our go-forward plan is [on] two levels. First, we want to …

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