Riverbed Rise channel program reinvents partner requirements

The Riverbed Rise program will focus on partner performance, which Riverbed will measure by customer acquisitions, account penetration and more; other news from the week.

Riverbed Technology has aligned its channel partner program with its shift to software-defined and cloud-based networking technology.

The new channel program, dubbed Riverbed Rise, does away with Riverbed's stringent accreditation and certification requirements that partners previously had to attain to advance in the program and maintain their membership statuses. Riverbed Rise instead measures partners' performance, essentially freeing up Riverbed partners to pursue the strategies that best meet their business models and focuses, according to the vendor.

"Being a top-tier partner, [we always had] a certain number of competencies that we had to acquire. [Whether or not] it was a key part of our strategy, we needed to get those to retain our top-tier status," said Bernard Westwood, vice president of technology operations at BlueAlly, a Riverbed partner since 2005 that's headquartered in Tysons Corner, Va. 

With this new program, I think one of the nice things is that they are going to allow you to focus specifically on where your skill sets and your strategies want to take you.
Bernard Westwoodvice president of technology operations, BlueAlly

"With this new program, I think one of the nice things is that they are going to allow you to focus specifically on where your skill sets and your strategies want to take you," Westwood said.

Bridget Bisnette, Riverbed's vice president of global channels and commercial sales, added that Riverbed Rise also introduces resources to improve partner experience and make it easier to do business with the vendor. These improvements include a redesigned Riverbed partner portal, more digital marketing tools, a demand-generation program and a new social media service.

Riverbed, which Bisnette noted derives about 98% of its revenue from the channel, has in recent years shifted its focus to helping customers move from legacy technology to software-defined and cloud-based networking. Riverbed Rise aims to support that transition and encourage partners to align their businesses to it, Bisnette said.

Riverbed Rise's performance focus

Riverbed said partner performance will be measured according to customer acquisitions, account penetration, delivering services, and the number of accreditation and certifications a partner achieves.

Bridget Bisnette, vice president of global channels and commercial sales, RiverbedBridget Bisnette

By meeting the criteria, partners will earn dividends, which they can annually trade in for rebates, business development funds and training.

The previous membership tiers -- Authorized, Premier and Elite -- will remain intact in the Riverbed Rise program, but tier statuses now are determined by the total number of dividends earned by a partner over a four-quarter period. Elite partners must earn 400 or more dividends, while Premier partners must earn 35 to 399 dividends. Authorized partners earn between zero to 34 dividends.

Echoing Westwood, Cindy Herndon, vice president of global channel program and operations at Riverbed, noted that the performance-based program lets partners succeed in multiple ways. "If [partners] are focusing strictly on Xirrus, they can get there if they are focusing strictly on Xirrus. Most of the partners are bringing in new customers to Riverbed, so we will be counting it toward their customer-acquisition numbers. So, there are many ways of [succeeding]; it is not prescriptive. We are not forcing them to go broad," she said. 

Cindy Herndon, vice president of global channel program and operations, RiverbedCindy Herndon

The accreditations and certifications that partners have achieved will carry over into Riverbed Rise and be counted toward their program tier and benefits, the vendor said. Current Riverbed partners will remain at their tier statuses until the end of July. The full rollout of Riverbed Rise will begin in August.

SUSE names North American Solution Partners

SUSE, an open source software provider based in Nuremberg, Germany, has named Novacoast and ATS Group as its first Solution Partners in North America.

The Solution Partner tier is SUSE Partner Program's highest level, noted Mark Salter, SUSE's global vice president for channel sales. He said companies in that tier possess both an acute understanding of the market and deep technical expertise to implement and support open source offerings that meet customers' performance and availability needs.

Novacoast, an IT services and solutions provider based in Santa Barbara, Calif., has been a SUSE partner since 2004. The company has influenced the development of SUSE offerings such as SUSE Enterprise Storage and SUSE Containers-as-a-Service Platform, according to SUSE. Novacoast offers cybersecurity advisory services, managed services, software development, identity and access management services, and compliance services.

"We have enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Novacoast, which has gone beyond just business," Salter said.

ATS Group, an IT solutions and managed service provider based in Malvern, Pa., is a more recent SUSE partner. The company's technical team, however, acquired certifications in SUSE Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Storage and SUSE OpenStack Cloud in a matter of months, SUSE said.

"The ATS Group has only been a partner for the last couple of years; however, they come to us as experts in the area of storage, in particular, in helping customers who operate in industries that have to comply with tough regulatory requirements around storage and archiving," Salter explained.

Salter said there are no blanket criteria for selecting a SUSE Solution Partner.

"We tend to start by establishing what's in it for the partner and for SUSE," he said. "Where we can see that there are excellent opportunities for us to work together, we instigate the Solution Partner conversation with the partner."

Solution Partners are required to distinguish themselves by skilling up their sales and technical staff in SUSE's product portfolio. But SUSE offers free training and enablement tools, as well as "options to make it easy for them to acquire the skills," Salter noted.

Salter said he is open to growing the number of Solution Partners in North America. The company hasn't set a recruitment objective, however.

"North America is a huge and incredibly important market for us, and we don't have a finite number in mind," he said. "As our business and solution portfolio grows, we are always looking for more partners who can step up to the Solution Partner level."

Neverfail, Tintri team up on DRaaS

Neverfail, a cloud and business continuity services provider, has built a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) platform based on all-flash storage from Tintri.

The DRaaS offering links Tintri storage devices at customer sites with a Tintri T5000 all-flash array housed in Neverfail's data center. The approach lets customers replicate and restore data over a private cloud in the event of a disaster.

Neverfail, based in Austin, Texas, works with channel partners such as managed service providers and resellers that provide clients with disaster recovery services. The Neverfail-Tintri offering targets a niche market for those partners: customers that use Tintri storage, but lack their own disaster recovery site. For those customers, Neverfail's Tintri-based DRaaS platform can reduce their investment in DR, according to the companies.

Jeremy Bigler, chief product officer at Neverfail, called latent hardware -- storage devices located at a DR center waiting for use in a disaster -- one of the most expensive pieces of disaster recovery. With the company's DRaaS platform, however, customers "don't have to worry about latent hardware that is underutilized or unutilized."

"Our partner community is really excited about this," said Chris Colotti, field CTO at Tintri, noting that all the company's deals flow through channel partners. "It gives them an avenue to help customers with their ... DR challenges."

Channel executive moves

Owen Taraniuk has been appointed head of worldwide partnerships and market development at Commvault, an enterprise backup and recovery vendor based in Tinton Falls, N.J. He will be responsible for the company's go-to-market strategy and indirect partnerships.

Steve Roos has joined TBI, a technology distributor based in Chicago, as vice president of engineering. He was formerly vice president of technical services at Wired Networks.

Masergy, a managed security and hybrid networking provider based in Plano, Texas, has promoted William Madison to vice president of global channel development. In his new position, Madison will be responsible for the growth and development of the company's global partner program, according to Masergy.

Zerospam, a cloud email security vendor based in Montreal, said Louis Doré has joined the company as channel sales manager. He will be responsible for development business with strategic partners in North America and Latin America, the company said. 

Other news

  • Channel partners looking to sell emerging technologies may find a considerable segment of their customer base already dabbling in leading-edge offerings. A newly released CompTIA survey of 700 U.S. businesses indicated one in four companies make regular use of AI, while one in five companies have a virtual reality and augmented reality initiative underway. The survey also reported 52% of respondents "cite greater security as a driver for considering blockchain."
  • Kofax, a software vendor in Irvine, Calif., captured a $1.8 million order from one of its resellers for its robotic process automation (RPA) offering, Kofax Kapow. Kofax said the partner uses its RPA software to "mimic human actions and automate a wide range of manual, repetitive tasks."
  • Cloud storage company Kaminario has partnered with distributor Tech Data for support in its transition to a software-based business model. Tech Data will help Kaminario streamline its operations and offer supply chain, integration and product support services for the vendor's composable data platform products, Kaminario said.
  • SAP is aiming to expand its partners' cloud businesses through the new Cloud Accelerator program. The program will provide qualifying SAP partners with support for digital marketing, business development and access to a partner marketing adviser.
  • Snow Software, a software asset management vendor with U.S. headquarters in Austin, Texas, launched an OEM program that targets partners, including IT outsourcing companies. The vendor's technology lets outsourcers discover assets on customers' network servers, desktops, laptops, mobile devices and cloud applications.
  • World Wide Technology, a technology solution provider based in Maryland Heights, Mo., has opened its new Northern California office in San Ramon, Calif. At 18,000 square feet, the new office is three times larger than the company's previous Northern California facility.
  • Continuum, an IT service delivery platform vendor for managed service providers, has inked a distribution pact with Portland Europe, a software distributor in the Benelux region.

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