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Infinio, Bloomfire, Gigamon, ObserveIT Talk New Channel Programs

**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of recent channel-program changes you should know.**

Four companies not well known in the channel started their indirect initiatives in recent weeks as sectors including data storage performance, business collaboration, network traffic visibility and user activity monitoring all see increasing demand among your customers.

Channel Partners conducted Q&As (which we’ve trimmed somewhat) with each company – Infinio, BloomfireGigamon and ObserveIT – to help you learn more about why the firms decided now was the best time to launch their channel programs, and what that all means for you.

Company: Infinio

Business: Provider of software-based storage performance tools
Respondent: Arun Agarwal, CEO and co-founder

CP: What industry trends are pushing Infinio to launch its formal channel program now? In other words, why not two or three years ago? What’s special about now?

AA: Infinio was founded in 2011 to help companies solve the problem of data storage performance in virtualized data centers. We launched our solution in 2013. … We’ve seen customers plagued with issues related to growing big data repositories and performance requirements driven by application architectures and virtualization adoption. Customers are looking to their VARs for guidance on these problems.

CP: What big-picture realities are shaping the need for storage acceleration offered through the channel?

AA: It’s no secret that data growth is unmanageable for most data centers and their traditional architectures. Similarly, performance requirements are growing aggressively. … Experienced channel partners who understand how to work with emerging storage hardware technologies are well-positioned to assist in bringing these high-value solutions to customers.

CP: Who is running the new program and why?

AA: Alan DiPietro, vice president of sales. Alan has more than 25 years of software industry sales experience. Early in his career, he built and managed a VAR program for MapInfo, and he was also instrumental in evolving strategies for LogMeIn’s free-to-paid model and selling … at VKernel. Alan brings a lot of value and expertise to our channel partners.

CP: Which partner profile is Infinio targeting and why?

AA: In the U.S., initially we’re looking for VARs, integrators and MSPs with proven track records in … technologies such as primary storage, data protection and virtualization. Our solution currently supports VMware, so organizations whose customers are primarily VMware-based, which is most everyone, are a good fit for us.

CP: How is Infinio compensating its partners?

AA: Infinio provides discounts for resellers on software licenses of our flagship solution, the Infinio Accelerator. Accelerator is licensed annually so our partners can benefit from a recurring revenue stream. There are, however, also perpetual licenses options available to both partners and end users.

CP: How is the program structured?

AA: The Infinio partner program offers three tiers: Authorized, Premier and Elite. As partners meet deal registration and sales achievement goals, they will be entitled to additional joint marketing dollars and dedicated support from Infinio.

Company: Bloomfire

Business: Provider of enterprise collaboration software
Respondent: Chad Gailey, vice president of business development

CP: Which industry trends are pushing Bloomfire to launch its global channel program now?

CG: Demand for enterprise collaboration solutions is hitting a tipping point at the same time that our product portfolio, customer use cases and partner relationships are maturing. … [W]e want to be able to scale that potential across key verticals and international markets through a formal indirect sales and services program.

CP: What big-picture realities are shaping the need for these kinds of collaboration services, and offered through the channel?

CG: The world has shifted to a more mobile- and socially enabled workforce that demands robust knowledge management platforms that connect companies, customers and employees in more engaging, productive ways.

CP: Why were you chosen to run the program?

CG: I bring more than 15 years of enterprise experience to the role. I was previously senior director at CA Technologies, where I managed global cloud provider relationships. I’ve also held channel development positions at AccessData, BMC Software, Quest Software and NetIQ.

CP: What partner profile is Bloomfire targeting and why?

CG: Bloomfire is seeking a diverse mix of partners including MSPs, VARs and systems integrators as well as vertically focused partners [doing] sales enablement, customer service and e-learning.

CP: How is Bloomfire compensating its partners? Recurring revenue? Upfront? A mix?

CG: We have a 35 percent reseller margin. We offer referral bonuses and are investing hard-dollar marketing funds to support our partners.

CP: How is the program structured?

CG: The Bloomfire partner program has no tiered structure at this time. It is a flat reseller and referral program. We may look to revamp and introduce a tiered program in the next year or so as the program matures.

CP: What training/certification and sales materials is Bloomfire providing to its partners?

CG: Partners will have access to all the sales training and collateral that is available to our internal sales team. In addition, we have a dedicated pre-sales team and inside salesperson to support them. We do not have a certification program for partners, but will train each partner in the same manner we train our internal sales and marketing staff.

CP: What three best practices do you recommend partners adhere to as they offer collaboration services?

CG: Assess use case/needs; set success metrics; track/measure results.

CP: What three challenges do you expect partners to encounter as they offer these platforms?

CG: Thinking mobile first. Getting in the mindset of a socially driven workforce. Being able to innovate and think about their customers in new ways and provide the tools necessary for them to be successful.

Company: Gigamon

Business: Provider of traffic visibility analytics
Respondent: Scott Sullivan, vice president of worldwide channel sales

CP: Which industry trends are pushing Gigamon to launch its formal channel program now?

SS: We believe we have now established sufficient market awareness and demand to interest partners and they are beginning to want to take more responsibility to develop opportunities throughout the lifecycle.

CP: What big-picture realities are shaping the need for security activity monitoring offered through the channel?

SS: The move to “zero trust” and multi-tier security strategies is causing many organizations to radically change their approach. … [M]onitoring infrastructure enables the consolidation and centralization of security tools, while integrating in-line solutions permits real-time analysis, mitigation and containment of threats.

CP: Why are you best suited to run Gigamon’s channel initiative?

SS: I have 25 years of experience in high-tech sales and operations with a focus on global channel/partners. I managed a services practice for Coopers & Lybrand around ERP and data mining. Most recently, I was senior vice president of worldwide sales, channels, alliances and services for VSS Monitoring, a competitor to Gigamon.

CP: Which partner profile is Gigamon targeting and why?

SS: The program targets our VAR partners … Gigamon is targeting regional and global VARs who bring knowledge around security, virtualization, big data and data center build-out.

CP: How is Gigamon compensating its partners?

SS: The new program offers three levels of partnerships with a range of financial benefits including incremental discounts and MDF investments in return for revenue and certification commitments.

CP: How is the program structured?

SS: The Gigamon Partner Program has three levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. There are revenue and certification requirements at each level.

CP: What training/certification and sales materials is Gigamon providing to its partners?

SS: Gigamon provides three levels of partner certification that are self-paced and online – GigaSALES, GigaTECH and GigaPRO Associate – with complementary hands-on training for technical staff. Additional certifications will be rolled out in 2015. The Gigamon Partner Portal also provides…sales and marketing tools and resources for partners.

ObserveIT

Business: Provider of user activity monitoring software
Respondent: Paul Brady, CEO

CP: What big-picture realities are shaping the need for security activity monitoring offered through the channel?

PB: Security management has evolved into risk management and many companies are outsourcing … this risk to partners. … Customers are asking the trusted advisers they work with to help them address these security challenges.

CP: Who is running the new program?

PB: Marc Potter, worldwide vice president of corporate strategy and business development, and Andrea Smith, worldwide director of partner marketing.

CP: Why did ObserveIT choose these people to run its channel initiative?

PB: Marc has extensive experience in security, executive relationships with the major security technology alliances and long-standing relationships with the security practice leads at the global systems integrators such as Deloitte, KPMG, Accenture, PwC and Ernest & Young. Andrea brings over 15 years’ experience in building … marketing campaigns and programs for partners in the network management and infrastructure space.

CP: Which partner profile is ObserveIT targeting and why?

PB: We are looking for security partners who are that trusted adviser to the customer. The ObserveIT RAMP program … includes VARs … and MSPs.

CP: How is ObserveIT compensating its partners?

PB: Partners who join the program are authorized to resell the product, [sell] recurring maintenance renewals and create … added services around the product such as installation, support, managed services and risk assessment.

CP: How is the program structured?

PB:Authorized, Silver and Gold. Revenue commitments and technical certifications are required to get the higher discounts and marketing investment. Each partnership level has eligibility requirements … including partnership, revenue, sales and technical certification, and marketing investment. In addition, each partnership level also offers various levels of benefits.

CP: What training/certification and sales materials is ObserveIT providing to its partners?

PB: Sales, product and installation training are provided for free to Silver and Gold Partners. Sales materials are also available to all partners in the program and include customer presentations, case studies, email and call scripts, event-in-a-box kits, and on the more technical side, items such as installation guide and sizing guidelines.

CP: Which three best practices do you recommend partners adhere to as they offer security activity monitoring to customers?

PB: Understand how to package it with your other security portfolio solutions. Understand how to position these solutions at the right level and use the right messaging, and leverage the major use cases and industry statistics and information supporting these use-cases.


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