New, Changing Channel Programs: Fusion, Avant, HP


Big News

Everyone’s after MSPs these days.

Multiple companies announced new programs or initiatives last month geared toward attracting managed service providers. For Infovista, that meant revamping its SD-WAN platform to be more MSP-friendly; for Quest Software, that meant rolling out new rebates and incentives; and for Open Systems, that meant partnering with a master agent.

The market is recognizing that managed services have are a force to be reckoned with. Companies like NetApp are building offerings that exist to give partners extra attached services, and vendors are shifting their partner-engagement models to accommodate and assist the new breed of partners.

Take VMware, which is working to make its program more flexible than ever.

“[We want to] make sure we are actually supporting our partners’ business models rather than predicating how we want them to engage with us,” said Jenni Flinders, VMware’s vice president and global channel chief.

We compiled a dozen stories below of companies in the IT/telecom channel that launched, formalized or enhanced their channel-partner programs in March.

Missed last month’s gallery? Scroll through the February edition.


Fusion Connect is working to unify its program in the wake of two acquisitions.

"We want all partners to know us as Fusion versus three distinct companies," said Bill McLeod, whom the company recently hired as senior director of channel programs.

The two additional companies are Birch, whose cloud and business-services unit Fusion bought last year, and MegaPath, which Fusion also bought last year.

One of Fusion's initiatives is to expand its channel in Canada as it continually integrates the three channel programs.

Edward Gately scored a Q&A with McLeod.
Open Systems-Avant

The provider of managed SD-WAN and security is courting the managed service provider (MSP) channel.

Open Systems added Avant Communications to its partner program, hoping to draw from Avant's large stable of MSPs. Open Systems is based in Switzerland and views partners as a critical element of its expansion in North America and across the world.

The vendor's portfolio also includes security operations center (SOC) and integrated service management. 

Learn what Avant stands to gain from the partnership.

The SD-WAN vendor's new channel chief says the company will employ more partner advisory councils.

Olen Scott, a former EarthLink/Windstream executive who recently jumped over to Aryaka, told us that he'd like to emulate the councils he ran with his previous employers.

"I always seek to have 12-20 leaders from different partners that will huddle with me every year and just tell me what they love about the program and what we need to change about the program," he said.

Scott also plans to add more structure and predictability to the program.

Check out the Q&A we did with him.

The video conferencing provider launched a new channel program under the leadership of its recently appointed channel chief.

Greg Popham, who worked as an HPE executive for more than eight years, wants Highfive to be a better resource for VARs and service providers. The vendor will give those partners white-listing and provisioning capabilities that should make them "sticky" with their customers.

Learn more about Highfive.

The endpoint-management provider now has a North American channel partner program.

The company launched the multitiered program at around the time it announced a distribution agreement with Synnex. FileWave now has access to more than 25,000 resellers. Its executive vice president of North American sales told us that FileWave had yet to utilize the full scope of its partner ecosystem.

Get details about the program.

AppDirect is adding resources and training for WTG subagents as the master agent integrates into the company.

WTG partners have asked for more presales support as they sell more cloud and security offerings than usual. The e-commerce platform company is in turn hosting monthly webinars for them and offering its AppHelp IT desk support team.

AppDirect acquired WTG last year to create a new unit called AppSmart. 

Read what AppDirect Co-CEO Daniel Saks had to say about partner feedback.
Silver Peak

Silver Peak upgraded its partnership with Synnex to cover North America.

Silver Peak partners in the region get staff support, marketing resources and training from Synnex. The two companies were already partnering to reach Europe, the Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asia Pacific, but the SD-WAN vendor is now using the distributor as a key cog for acquiring U.S. customers.

We wrote about Silver Peak as part of our latest SD-WAN column. Check it out

The Virginia-based SD-WAN vendor is trying to draw more MSP partners — just like rival Silver Peak.

Infovista is expanding its partner base from 155. One executive told Channel Futures that the company hired new regional channel account managers and added a partner portal and a system for deal registration.

The changes to the program come after Infovista rolled out an increasingly MSP-friendly version of its Ipanema platform.

Read Jeff Schwartz' article on Channel Futures.

Microsoft launched its AI Business School, which partners and their customers can use to bolster their knowledge.

The non-technical school targets executives and joins two other AI programs that help developers and engineers, respectively. The class series helps professionals "create their own AI strategy and establish an AI-ready culture across their organizations."

Read Lynn Haber's story about the new educational opportunity.

HP is bringing together its portals for partners and sales.

HP said at its Reinvent partner conference that it is helping partners and customers embrace device as a service and managed print services. The company said enhanced chatbots will play a big role as "virtual chatbot assistants" that help users navigate the single platform. 

Read more about the decision to consolidate.
Quest Software

The systems management company is offering tiered discounts and rebate options in an effort to lure MSP partners.

The company announced midway through March that it was expanding the Partner Circle channel program. Quest has historically worked with MSPs, but the program changes will help those partners  "ramp up their revenue and profit faster than expected."

Quest provides data protection and security software in addition to systems management.

Edward Gately wrote about the enhanced program.

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