2017 ESG Channel Acceleration Awards - Part 1

ESG-Channel-Acceleration-Award-2017.pngOne of the really cool parts about my job is that I get to see, meet, and hear from lots of experienced, focused channel leaders who are constantly trying to pull all the levers at their disposal: technology and product sets, program elements and options, resources and teams… in order to earn and receive more than their fair share of time and attention from IT partners of all types. And that’s not just any old IT partners, but the same ones who all the other b channel leaders are trying to gain time and attention from. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.


Now that 2017 is truly off and running, and you’ve had enough of all the predictions for the year, I'd like to share my thoughts on channel-focused companies that stood out during 2016—and the strategies, programs, and tactics that are having an impact in the IT partner ecosystem.


We call these the ESG Channel Acceleration Awards.


Why? For the IT channel, whether we’re talking VARs, solution providers, systems integrators, distributors, or cloud service providers of any shape and type, success is all about velocity—accelerating customer interest, shortening the sales cycle, and helping partners to do more deals to drive their top and bottom lines and continue to solve customer problems quickly and efficiently. This is why "ease of doing business" ranks highly on every partner sentiment survey ESG does, and although services have become critical for partner financial success, it all starts with a customer’s decision to purchase a piece of technology, doesn’t it?

Full disclosure: This is not a rigorous survey of the industry or partnering landscape, but rather a way to identify a group of vendors/channel teams that I have been watching and that stand out. They may not necessarily be regular ESG clients. The Channel Acceleration Awards are all about recognizing best practices coupled with execution, pure and simple, and I hope you find the underlying aspects compelling as well. Below is the first wave of winners. Any and all feedback is welcome!


Channel Acceleration Alliances Award Winner: Citrix (Citrix Partner Network)

Strategies and Actions:


Citrix undertook a strategic/cultural refresh during the past year under new CEO Kirill Tataranov, including a goal of becoming “Best to Partner With.” Empowering the Alliances team to deepen relationships with MSFT, HPE, Cisco, Dell, Nutanix, Google, IBM, Fujitsu, Dimension Data, and Capgemini continued as critical elements of the Citrix strategy to be the leader in delivering integrated technology services. Examples of this (sometimes) balancing act included relationships with:

  • Microsoft - Partners work closely with Citrix teams to deliver VDI to core MSFT customers.
  • HPE - The first partner signed up to the new Citrix Ready HCI Workspace Appliance Program.
  • Cisco - Fully co-branded VDI solutions are sold through the robust Cisco channel.


Channel Acceleration Impact:


2016 saw a simplified and enhanced Citrix brand position, along with a clear roadmap to integrate total solutions from trusted vendor alliance partners. Add to this improved enablement for joint solutions, and clear lines of sight for field sales and tech support, and this spells out greater "pull-thru" for joint solutions and improved transaction velocity—more and bigger transactions in the same timeframe.


Channel Acceleration Program Innovation Award Winner: Actifio (Actifio Partner Program)

Strategies and Actions:


Actifio is making all the right investments to support Cloud Service Provider development, covering planning, development, sales, and operations support for:

  • Strategy and planning: Development of financial models, joint business plans, and QBR.
  • Products: Fund a series of workshops for joint development of CSP branded SLA offerings.
  • Operations: Invest resources with partners training/supporting System Ops and Mgmt.
  • Sales and marketing: Provide campaign-based assets (collateral, webinars, sales guides, and sizing tools) and true sell-with local activities (onsite call blitzes) supported by online Partner Marketplace.


Channel Acceleration Impact:


It’s simple—this level of CSP Program support is highly evolved and touches all the bases. By outlining a business and financial route to profitability, it reduces upfront investment risk and motivates Service Providers to invest with confidence, knowing that Actifio will support them in yielding the predicted ROI. With this, Service Providers enter the market more quickly.


Channel Acceleration Business Transformation Award Winner: Trend Micro

(Trend Micro Partner Program)

Strategies and Actions:


Trend Micro has moved from being perceived as merely an endpoint antivirus player on a price-oriented play in the market to now being able to compete effectively in the enterprise space. This has included:

  • The successful acquisition of TippingPoint (along with many excited HPE partners) a year ago gives it robust products for network security, with further performance and usability to come.
  • Trend has become a hybrid cloud security leader through Alliances with VMware/NSX and a broad base of other leading cloud-based technologies (OpenStack, AWS, and Azure).
  • Added emphasis on Cloud Service Providers plus joining the MSFT Enterprise Cloud Alliance.
  • Feature-rich Partner Program for Resellers, Service Providers, and SIs supported through selected distributors.


Channel Acceleration Impact:


The best parts of its Global and NA programs replicate successful initiatives across all regions. Trend added a simplified education program, reducing the time for partner skill development, and added access to field engineering—an already-strong level of field and product support. Lastly, formal alliances with MSFT/Azure and VMware/NSX have provided partners with defined, bundled solutions, attaching security to platform sales. By staying relevant in a world where CIOs are reducing the number of vendors and partners they choose to deal with, IT partners can now own the relationship, and support the entire services lifecycle with basic and high-margin services.

That’s it for the first wave of winners, covering leaders in Alliances, Innovation, and Transformation—look for the next wave to come your way shortly!

Topics: Channel