… one strategic agreement that’s available for partners to sign up to be a partner with Rackspace.
CP: What drove the need for the new program?
LM: In the future when you look at technology as a service, that is actually going to take the company plus their channel partners to actually go out and win together. So what the channel brings that we just didn’t take advantage of in previous years is those deep, long-term relationships with customers. These are partners that have been servicing these customer bases and now those customers are asking for guidance on this digital transformation, and we think there’s a prime opportunity for Rackspace to be that MSP for these partners to leverage to make that digital transformation. And it’s just something that, with our new leadership team – and we have executive leaders who have come from other companies that had a strong channel arm – this is just the right opportunity, and the way for Rackspace to grow in the midmarket and enterprise segments.
CP: Did partner feedback play a role in the formulation of the new program?
LM: Absolutely. Last year we had a partner advisory council, and when I joined in July, within four weeks I was in front of them. And I met with a lot of them at Channel Partners Evolution last fall and took feedback. And then last week we had the 2018 partner advisory council here, reviewed the agreement with them and reviewed the program, and they made the comment of, “Wow, you guys listened to what we have to say.” So partners’ fingerprints are all over this new program.
CP: Does the new program eliminate barriers partners have been facing?
LM: Some of the big barriers were how they were communicating with Rackspace. We do have a brand-new partner portal that allows them to communicate with us in a much easier manner. That portal is also a custom dashboard for the partner so they understand how their business is doing at Rackspace, what their customers are doing with Rackspace, and then [the] products and portfolio they should be selling here with Rackspace. So that’s one way of Rackspace making it easier to do business. Another way is our enablement strategy. So they will have technical field resources for a specific partner training on portfolio, and they’ll have joint marketing events as well to help enable their customers and their team. And they will also have the ability to create joint slides that can be placed into their overall pitch deck so whenever they are talking to their customers, they understand and they have a portion of Rackspace embedded in their overall message. So [those are] just a few things that we will have on the enablement side to make it easier to do business with Rackspace.
CP: What does the ultimate Rackspace partner look like, one you are most wanting to work with?
LM: The ultimate partner is someone who wants one strong MSP partner who has …