Tag Archives: partner

Microsoft Partner Network licensing changes put channel on alert

Pending Microsoft Partner Network policy changes affecting product licensing have alarmed some partners, with more than 5,000 people signing a petition to register their disapproval.

A key area of contention is Microsoft’s plan to eliminate the internal use rights (IUR) association with product licenses included in Microsoft Action Pack and those included with a competency. Action Pack gives partners access to product licenses and technical enablement services, through which they can create applications and develop service offerings. Microsoft positions Action Pack, which ranges from OSes to business applications, as a way for new MPN members to get started. Competencies are business specializations in areas such as cloud business applications and data analytics.

The revised IUR association policy will compel Microsoft partners to pay for licenses they have been using in-house under the current Microsoft Partner Network membership terms. The new policy goes into effect July 1, 2020.

Paul Katz, president and chief software architect at EfficiencyNext, a software developer in Washington, D.C., said the policy change will cause the company to purchase five Office 365 Enterprise E3 seats. In addition, EfficiencyNext stands to lose the Microsoft Azure credits the company uses to run its website, although Katz said the policy change’s effect on the Azure benefit is somewhat ambiguous at this point. The licensing fees coupled with the potential loss of Azure credits would result in an annual net cost of about $2,400 a year, he added.

“That’s a thorn in the side, but it doesn’t change our world,” Katz said.

The stakes are much higher, he said, for larger partners with more licenses they will need to pay for. A partner with 100 Office 365 E3 licenses, for example, would need to shell out $24,000 annually, based on the $20 per user, per month seat fee.

Charles WeaverCharles Weaver

Charles Weaver, CEO of MSPAlliance, an association representing managed service providers (MSPs), said he found out about the Microsoft policy change when a board member sent him the online petition. “It’s going to sting most of them,” he said of the licensing shift’s effect on service providers. “It is probably not going to be received well by the rank-and-file MSPs.”

The partner petition, posted on Change.org, stated Microsoft’s policies represent unfair treatment, noting partners “have been so loyal to the Microsoft business.” Microsoft couldn’t be reached for comment.

Microsoft Partner Network: Policy consequences

Katz advised partners to “get licensed up” in light of the IUR change, noting that Microsoft has been aggressive in the past with software asset management engagements.

Weaver, however, said he hopes that won’t be the case.

“I can’t think of anything more destructive to the relationship between Microsoft and the channel than that,” he said, noting the audits software vendors pursue tend to target large customers, where millions of dollars are at stake.

People don’t want to come to terms with the fact that we are resellers and we don’t, in any way, shape or form, control the products.
Stanley LouissaintPresident, Fluid Designs Inc.

In addition to causing some partners to incur higher licensing costs, the Microsoft IUR policy shift could also hinder partners’ use-what-you-sell strategies. Resellers and service providers that use a vendor’s products to help run their business gain technology experience, which they can transfer to end customers when deploying those products.

Katz said “dogfooding” — as in, eating one’s own dog food — is the best way to test products, especially for companies that can’t afford to set up a separate test environment.

But the restriction on IUR would discourage this approach and could cause Microsoft to miss out on opportunities down the road.

Weaver pointed to a potential unintended consequence of Microsoft’s action: “They stop the freeloading of MSPs from using their software, as they look at it, and they lose potentially thousands of MSPs who no longer try that stuff out and no longer have access to it and may go to different vendors and different solutions.”

A part of doing business

Stanley LouissaintStanley Louissaint

Stanley Louissaint, president of Fluid Designs Inc., an IT services provider in Union, N.J., said the MPN policy changes don’t affect his company but noted the unease among partners. Louissaint suggested changes in vendor policies are simply part of doing business as a channel partner.

“People don’t want to come to terms with the fact that we are resellers and we don’t, in any way, shape or form, control the products,” he said. “If [Microsoft] changes how they want to deal with us, it is what it is.”

Louissaint said the bottom line is Microsoft wants partners to become paying customers when using the vendor’s products to run their businesses. As for creating test beds to assess products, channel partners still can download software on a trial basis — for up to 180 days, in some cases, he added.

Jeff Aden, executive vice president of marketing and business development at 2nd Watch, a Seattle MSP, said the new policy “is not going to change what we do” unless there is an unforeseen effect. 2nd Watch is a Microsoft Gold partner and an AWS Premier Consulting Partner.

EfficiencyNext’s Katz said the licensing changes don’t mean Microsoft is greedy. He noted Windows Insider members can download preview versions of Windows for free, and there is a community version of Visual Studio that is free for up to five users in nonenterprise organizations.

“They are still a great company, and we are still happy to be working with them,” he said.

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Microsoft announces investments to broaden opportunities for partners – Stories

Ahead of Microsoft Inspire, company shares how it is tuning partner investments for the cloud era, including updates to Teams, Dynamics 365, Azure

REDMOND, Wash. — July 11, 2019 — On Thursday, Microsoft Corp. announced new investments in technologies and programs designed to support its partner ecosystem. The investments are aimed at helping optimize Microsoft’s partner engagement for the cloud era.

“Customers and partners alike continue to move to the cloud and accelerate their digital transformation, leading us to new and different levels of partnership,” said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner group. “Our portfolio of programs, offers and resources for companies partnering with Microsoft is transforming to help them capitalize on this opportunity.”

The following are some highlights of the news announced today, with more details available here.

Investments in products and programs

  • Microsoft Teams extensions and adoption. Just two years after its launch, Teams now has 13 million daily active users and 19 million weekly active users. The company also announced new features in Microsoft Teams for every worker —including new ways to support healthcare organizations and firstline workers. Additional new partner integrations include support for contact centers, compliance recording and cloud solution providers.
  • Dynamics 365 updates. The company announced significant updates to the Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries. In addition, the Business Applications ISV Connect program is generally available, with new development tools and guidance, marketplace resources, joint field engagement processes and go-to-market support.
  • Introducing Azure Lighthouse. Azure Lighthouse gives partners a single control plane to view and manage Azure at scale across all their customers. This provides a better managed Azure experience with higher automation and efficiency, resulting in greater visibility and security for customers. This marks the first time Microsoft has architected a solution at this scale, with partners and for partners.
  • Azure Migration Program. The new Azure Migration Program (AMP) helps customers accelerate their migration to Azure. AMP offers proactive advice and tools to help mitigate risks and address common issues associated with moving workloads to the cloud.

Broadening partner opportunity

Since the inception of Microsoft’s co-sell program 24 months ago, the program has seen $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. The investments announced this week are designed to build on that opportunity:

  • General availability of the Microsoft Security competency. This new competency allows partners to market their expertise and provides access to a range of benefits designed to enable business growth and profitability.
  • Five advanced specializations. These include Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure, Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure, Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure, Modernization of Web Applications in Microsoft Azure, and Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure.
  • New advancements in marketplace. Additional pricing models, a rewards program and a new route to market are rolling out in July for companies that publish transactable offers in Microsoft’s expanded commercial marketplace. The pricing models include monthly and annual SaaS billing, flexible, custom-metered billing options, standard contracts, and free SaaS trials that convert to paid engagements.

About Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft Inspire provides Microsoft’s partner community with access to key marketing and business strategies, leadership, and information regarding specific customer solutions designed to help partners succeed in the marketplace. Along with informative learning opportunities covering sales, marketing, services, and technology, Microsoft Inspire is an ideal setting for partners to garner valuable knowledge from their peers and from Microsoft. More information can be found at https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/inspire.

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For more information, press only:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications, (425) 638-7777, [email protected]

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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Algolia partners with integrators, digital agencies

Algolia, which offers search technology for websites and mobile apps, has launched a partner program targeting systems integrators, consultants, digital agencies and e-commerce platforms. Algolia partners include Accenture Interactive’s Altima business unit, digital agency Wunderman and e-commerce platforms Magento and Shopify.

At launch, the Algolia Partner Program has 20 certified partners. The program aims to create an ecosystem of Algolia partners that can help enterprises customize Algolia search technology, according to the company.

The program’s launch follows rising interest among customers in working with partners, said Alexandre Popp, director of channels and alliances at Algolia.

“Over the past year, we saw increasing demand from enterprises to leverage the support of partners like systems integrators, consultants and agencies,” Popp said. “So we made the decision to dedicate resources to building out partner engineering, account management, and marketing teams to support our partners in the field and meet customer demand.”

The partner program is part of the company’s enterprise customer initiative.

Alexandre Popp, director of channels and alliances at AlgoliaAlexandre Popp

“Our motion to move upmarket comes with partners and multinational brands purchasing our product in tandem with partner solutions, and deployed with consulting firms’ team[s],” Popp said. He noted the program’s objective is to support partners as they “build or sell digital products” that embed Algolia.

Algolia’s partner program offers technical enablement and certification; go-to-market and sales enablement; and marketing support, including co-marketing events, webinars and campaigns. The company, founded in 2012, said it has more than 5,700 customers.

Cloud service providers launch offerings

Cloud service providers Faction and 2nd Watch rolled out new services this week.

Over the past year, we saw increasing demand from enterprises to leverage the support of partners like systems integrators, consultants and agencies.
Alexandre Poppdirector of channels and alliances, Algolia

Faction, a Denver company that focuses on multi-cloud services, said it is working with VMware to provide cloud-attached storage for VMware Cloud on AWS deployments. Faction said its Cloud Control Volumes offering provides a scalable storage platform for VMware Cloud on AWS customers who need more storage capacity.

Meanwhile, 2nd Watch, a managed service provider based in Seattle, said its Cloud Migration Cost Assessment service aims to help large and midmarket firms get a handle on the cost benefits of moving on-premises IT infrastructure to the cloud. The cloud migration assessment involves a six-week engagement in which 2nd Watch cloud personnel evaluate a customer’s IT estate and “map current resources to the most cost-effective cloud solution,” according to the company.

Other news

  • Silver Peak launched its Authorized Deployment Partner (ADP) Program, which will train, certify and authorize a group of services partners. Partners receiving authorization are deemed capable of managing the design, deployment and management of the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN offering. Program participants include Cavell Group, FireOwls Corp., Geode Networks, Traversa Solutions and Velociti.
  • Arcserve, a data backup and availability vendor based in Minneapolis, unveiled a new channel program dubbed Arcserve Accelerate. The program targets North American MSPs, value-added resellers, large-account resellers and original equipment manufacturers. Program features include re-developed e-learning courses, partner certification, individual and corporate SPIFs, marketing development funds and access to cloud-native products with support for private and public clouds such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, according to Arcserve.
  • Matrix Integration, an IT infrastructure company in Kentucky and Indiana, has opened its new Louisville regional office. The company said the expansion provides a hub for modernizing the IT infrastructure of public and private sector entities in the Louisville area.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Digital marketing partnerships key to vendors’ channel strategies

For some vendors, the key to a thriving channel ecosystem means engaging and supporting a variety of partner types, including digital marketing partnerships.

Digital marketing organizations were among the earliest firms to recognize the IT budgets for marketing shifting from the purview of customers’ IT departments to marketing executives. Vendors took note of the agencies’ influence and unique reach within customer organizations. While on the surface, digital marketing agencies didn’t appear to be direct competition for traditional channel partners, some industry watchers asserted the agencies did in fact pose a potential threat. For example, agencies working on digital initiatives with a client’s marketing department could hypothetically annex the client’s infrastructure decisions, cutting channel partners out from those deals.

Vendors, however, view their digital marketing partnerships as an important subgroup of their overall partner ecosystems that, if anything, is complementary to a traditional channel base.

Progress cites potential partner synergies

Progress Software, an application development and deployment software vendor, said it sees an opportunity for digital marketing agencies to partner up with traditional channel firms.

Progress began to pursue digital marketing partnerships following its acquisition of app development vendor Telerik in 2014, said Matthew Gharegozlou, vice president of sales at Progress. The Telerik buyout brought with it Sitefinity, a content management system, as well as digital marketing agencies that had been working with the product.

Matthew Gharegozlou, vice president of sales, Progress SoftwareMatthew Gharegozlou

“The acquisition of Telerik and Sitefinity gave us the ability to go after these relationships,” Gharegozlou said.

He noted that about 65% of Progress’ content management business is now derived from channel partners. About 80% of those partners are digital marketing agencies.

Progress’ traditional partners typically share a few traits: They work in the app development space, deal with customers’ IT departments and lack skill sets related to digital experience and digital marketing. “So far, we haven’t had any conflict” between traditional and agency partners, he said, because “the bulk of the experience needed on the digital side, our traditional partners don’t have it.”

Traditional Progress partners also usually have expertise in vertical industries, he said, adding that most are based in markets such as financial services, government, healthcare and education. “Our traditional partners are extremely knowledgeable” and have strong relationships in their vertical spaces, he said.

Because of traditional partners’ strengths, Gharegozlou said Progress looks to pair them up with digital marketing agencies for certain leads. Combining the expertise in back-end work and vertical markets with agencies’ expertise in web development and related technologies can produce compelling offerings. 

But while optimistic about these synergies, he recognized that a “full-service” digital marketing agency, which can do both the front-end and back-end work for a customer, diminishes the value that traditional partners may offer. In this sense, full-service agencies may be preferable to customers “because they can do the entire project,” he said.

Salesforce supports acquisition trend

For Salesforce, digital marketing partnerships play a critical role in advancing its marketing platform.

Stephane Viallet, vice president of global alliances, agencies, at SalesforceStephane Viallet

Salesforce has signed numerous digital marketing agencies over the last six years, spurred by several acquisitions to build out its business-to-commercial and marketing portfolio, said Stephane Viallet, vice president of global alliances, agencies, at Salesforce. Salesforce’s acquisitions have included digital marketing software company ExactTarget in 2013, as well as e-commerce provider Demandware and data management platform Krux in 2016. Viallet also cited Salesforce’s alliance with Google as a driver behind the company’s growing digital marketing agency partnerships.

“Partners, including digital marketing agencies, are the lifeblood of Salesforce, extending our platform in new and exciting ways and fueling our growth,” Viallet said in an email. He said Salesforce and its partners are pursuing opportunities created by “our ability to merge media, adtech and martech to execute on a whole new way for brands to connect with customers.”

Digital marketing organizations use Salesforce’s products such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud to offer “transformative digital experience that enable clients to meet consumer expectations,” he noted.

I think often agencies can help us get into areas of the business or with clients that we may not thoroughly be in today.
Adrianna Bustamantedirector of digital sales and alliances, Rackspace

In addition to having digital marketing and advertising skills, Viallet said Salesforce seeks partners that understand “the importance of merging data, technology and creativity” to deliver customer experience strategies.

Viallet also pointed to a trend among digital marketing organizations acquiring Salesforce practices, such as Publicis.Sapient’s 2016 buyout of Vertiba, a Gold-level Salesforce Consulting partner.

Other notable acquisitions have included the following:

  • Wunderman bought a majority stake in Salesforce consultancy Pierry Inc. in September 2017.
  • Dentsu Aegis purchased Swiss digital marketing company Blue-Infinity in January 2017.
  • MRM//McCann acquired e-commerce service provider Optaros in December 2014.

“Digital marketing agencies haven’t just built Salesforce practices around the globe organically — they’ve been acquiring them as well,” he said. “Salesforce supports these collaborations as we work to provide our partners with an edge that enables them to exceed customers’ expectations.”

Rackspace: Little overlap between the channels

Managed cloud provider Rackspace, meanwhile, looks at digital marketing partnerships differently: Traditional channel firms and digital marketing agencies can do business with the same customers without necessarily encroaching on each other’s turf.

Rackspace’s alliances with digital marketing agencies stem from its digital services practice. Launched in 2014, Rackspace Digital provides application and infrastructure hosting for web content management systems, e-commerce products, and mobile and critical application services. Adrianna Bustamante, Rackspace’s director of digital sales and alliances, noted that the company has formally developed strategic digital marketing partnerships since about 2010.

Adrianna Bustamante, director of digital sales and alliances, RackspaceAdrianna Bustamante

“I think often agencies can help us get into areas of the business or with clients that we may not thoroughly be in today,” Bustamante said.That’s partly because digital marketing organizations tend to target a customer’s marketing department — versus the IT department.

“Nowadays … your traditional agencies have to be more digitally focused. … But still their main focus is very much around the consulting, the service and the creative — potentially integration and development,” Bustamante said.

She noted that the line between digital marketing organizations and systems integrators are blurring. Digital marketing organizations now look a lot more like systems integrators, while systems integrators “look a lot more like agencies,” she said.

Rackspace works with its agency partners in reseller and referral models. The company offers enablement resources for creating “sticky engagements for their customers and successful projects,” she said, while Rackspace focuses on the back end to ensure their projects meet scale, security and compliance requirements.

“We are heavily focused on trying to … accelerate now in certain verticals and certain segments, now in midmarket and enterprise. We can form a strong partnership when the agency realizes and understands that we are that trusted partner for them,” she said.

Rackspace generally doesn’t see any tension between its traditional and digital marketing partnerships, according to Bustamante.

“There might be several partners that we might have within … a certain customer that we are working with, but they might be working on five different projects, 20 different workloads, across three different business units,” she said.

Microsoft Inspire 2018

Inspire 2018: Opening doors for partner innovation, growth and differentiation

Organizations around the world are undergoing transformation fueled by cloud, artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and the Internet of Things. These technologies are helping businesses and society reach new heights – retail is becoming more personal, banking is becoming more seamless, and healthcare is becoming more predictive and preventive.

At the heart of these incredible stories of transformation – and more – are Microsoft partners. The Microsoft partner ecosystem is a group of hundreds of thousands of organizations driving positive, global impact. Building everything from line-of-business apps to industry-specific solutions on Dynamics 365 to gaming experiences, these companies are a natural extension of the team at Microsoft, delivering cutting-edge technology to millions of customers.

Read more

Digital transformation process: Align business and IT, shake legacy

At the Strongbow Consulting Group, founder and managing partner Cathy Horst Forsyth and her team help large enterprises digitally transform — specifically around network and infrastructure. From her experience with Fortune 500 companies, legacy applications and systems and misalignment of technology and business strategies can cause significant setbacks in the digital transformation process.

In this SearchCIO interview from the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Horst Forsyth details the trends and challenges that she’s seeing in enterprises that are going through the digital transformation process and what’s needed to be successful.

Editor’s note: This transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What parts of the enterprise are leading the charge in the digital transformation process?

Cathy Horst Forsyth: You see it all on the edges of the business where we have lines of business working directly with their customers, with their individual goals. I think where we see digital transformation being most progressive and most successful is when those lines of business — at the front end of the business — are working closely with their technology partners. What doesn’t seem to work well, or at least what can fall back and have negative consequences is when the lines of business are transforming and driving digital transformation that does not align with a corporate strategy and isn’t compliant with [an organization’s] technology strategy. So, where we see the most success, whether it’s marketing, sales or any particular functional area within the firm, is really that alignment with the business executive and the technology team to make sure the execution is both successful and compliant with the overall goals of the organization.

What parts of the enterprise are less far along in the digital transformation process?

You really can’t underestimate the [extent to which] legacy infrastructure systems and applications tether large companies down.
Cathy Horst Forsythfounder and managing partner, Strongbow Consulting Group

Horst Forsyth: Again, it’s kind of hard to generalize from my perspective. I can’t say one department or function is necessarily behind. But I would say that with organizations that are tethered to legacy applications, legacy infrastructure or legacy systems, it’s very difficult to dig themselves out of that. It’s probably not for lack of wanting to transform digitally, but you really can’t underestimate the [extent to which] legacy infrastructure systems and applications tether large companies down. Again, that’s one of the reasons [Strongbow] focuses specifically on the largest of enterprises. It is a lot easier to start ‘greenfield’ and to drive innovation when you haven’t been a classic Fortune 500 company for the past 50 or 100 years. Even though it’s about culture, leadership and many other things, the legacy infrastructure really can be an impediment. Where there are sunk costs or where it’s difficult to even understand where that infrastructure resides — which is an issue at times — we really see those organizations being hindered.

What kinds of strategies are effective in getting the entire enterprise to the same level of digital prowess?

Horst Forsyth: Once again, I go back to the top executives and the executive committee and [having the ability to] really understand and articulate business strategies. So, what are we trying to accomplish? Why are we trying to accomplish it? Anything can be framed in terms of opportunity or threat. Having everyone understand that simplistic business strategy is definitely a forerunner to then understanding how to leverage technology and achieving [digital transformation]. I think that, to some extent, technology strategy should be driven across the business — including on the front lines — but it needs to be monitored so that it’s consistent and compliant with corporate standards. And I think that the executives need to monitor and keep track of what’s going on, but allow it to go on and grow in a flexible fashion.

Unitrends revamps enterprise backup solutions program in wake of merger

Enterprise backup solutions company Unitrends has revamped its partner program following its merger with Kaseya, a provider of management software for managed service providers.

The Kaseya-Unitrends merger, revealed in May, yielded a portfolio spanning remote monitoring and management, endpoint management, network monitoring and management, professional services automation, security, and enterprise backup solutions. According to Unitrends, which runs as an independent company inside Kaseya, the redesigned channel program aims to enhance partner benefits and support for legacy Unitrends partners, while tapping into the Kaseya MSP community.

The redesigned program also reflects the shift away from Unitrends’ previous volume-based channel strategy in which the vendor sought to “recruit a large number of partners, large and small, across various geographies,” said Dante Gordon, senior director of channel marketing at Unitrends, based in Burlington, Mass.

“It is not a volume play anymore. We are not looking at adding partners for the sake of adding numbers,” he added. “A key tenet of the program is ensuring that we are delivering one of the most profitable programs in our industry for partners, and one of the ways we do that is ensuring we are not saturating the market … and eroding margins.”

The Unitrends channel program now features a four-tiered membership structure of Authorized, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels, offering incremental discounts and incentives, among other benefits.

“What we have done with the new program is we have established partner segmentation and … tiers based on partners’ investment and commitment to building a practice around Unitrends,” Gordon said.

Program benefits include a proposal-based market development funds (MDF) program.

“Unlike a lot of vendors, we don’t allocate MDF based on a percent of bookings or revenue. … Any partner in our Gold and Platinum tiers has the ability to submit a proposal for MDF dollars that they want to apply to a particular marketing campaign.”

Unitrends’ partners can also tap a new cloud-based partner portal containing a library of marketing materials, such as packaged campaigns that partners can white label. Additionally, Unitrends said it will soon roll out a marketing automation service for email campaigns.

As for Kaseya MSP partners, Unitrends said it will extend Gold-level program benefits to Kaseya MSP partners for a limited time. Those benefits include access to MDF, dedicated channel managers and lead referrals.

Gordon said Kaseya MSP partners, which tend to target the small and medium-sized business space, are complementary to Unitrends’ midmarket focus. He noted that he also sees the merger as an opportunity for Unitrends’ traditional resellers to use Kaseya’s offerings to incorporate managed services into their businesses.

Other news

  • Winxnet Inc., an IT consulting and outsourcing firm based in Portland, Maine, has merged with K&R Network Solutions, a San Diego-based managed IT services provider. The companies said the combination will create a coast-to-coast MSP company. The deal follows a strategic alliance between the companies that was announced in January 2018. The Winxnet-K&R merger continues a trend of mergers and acquisitions in the IT services industry. Other recent transactions, such as the Green House Data merger with Infront Consulting Group Ltd., were also motivated by geographic reach.
  • In other financial news, Primepulse SE, an investment holding group based in Munich, has invested in Unify Square, a cloud managed services provider for Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. The funding round is roughly $10 million, according to Unify Square, which is based in Bellevue, Wash.
  • Tech Mahindra, a consulting and digital transformation services provider, is partnering with LIFARS LLC, a cybersecurity digital forensics and incident response The companies plan to combine Tech Mahindra’s security operations center offering with LIFARS incident response service for their customers.
  • SolarWinds MSP, an IT service management solution provider targeting service providers, unveiled MSP Institute, a training and tips playbook for MSPs. The playbook will include business, sales, marketing and technical tracks.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions: Scale, Nutanix tap channel

Scale Computing and Nutanix both made channel partner moves this week in the hyper-converged infrastructure solutions market.

Scale Computing launched a managed service provider (MSP) program with an updated pricing model. The new Opex subscription is based on price per node, per month. The company said the MSP pricing model aims to boost partner profitability and reduce Capex.

The MSP program also provides features that Scale Computing said enables partners to sell disaster recovery as a service, infrastructure services, and remote management as a service. The company said the new channel initiative follows increased demand for Scale Computing’s HC3 platform in the hyper-converged infrastructure solutions space.

MSPs can purchase HC3 appliances based on Scale Computing and Lenovo hardware or as an “on-premises data center in a box,” according to the company.

Nutanix, meanwhile, has teamed up with Lenovo to launch the Velocity partner program for selling Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS software in the midmarket space.

The program features incentives, marketing support, accelerated selling processes and product bundles based on Lenovo’s HX hyper-converged appliance, Nutanix said. Nutanix and Lenovo will also release a new hyper-converged product, Lenovo ThinkAgile HX Certified Nodes, targeting enterprise customers.

Other hyper-convergence vendors are targeting MSPs and resellers in their channel partnership strategy plans. Pivot3 earlier this year reported a more than 65% sales increase from the first half of 2017 to the second half of that year.

Hyper-converged infrastructure solutions, meanwhile, have become an important technology for MSPs and other channel partners. The benefits of hyper-converged offerings have expanded beyond initial use cases such as virtual desktop infrastructure to other applications such as virtual machine clustering and production-side deployments. In addition, channel partner executives identified hyper-converged infrastructure solutions as among the technologies setting the pace this year in the storage market.

Chart showing hyper-converged benefits, challenges and use cases
Channel partners are seeing increased demand as more CIOs adopt hyper-converged infrastructure solutions.

Commvault: Changes ahead for channel strategy

Data management vendor Commvault has established a three-year plan to revamp its channel program and strategy.   

The changes come after Commvault’s appointment of Scott Strubel, vice president of worldwide channels, in late April of this year. Strubel joined Commvault from NetApp, where he served as vice president of the Americas partner organization. According to Strubel, Commvault’s long-term channel refresh will focus on four pillars — predictability, consistency and profitability, combined with simplicity — with several updates rolling out in the coming months.

“We will soon be making announcements on what our partners are going to see in the new partner program,” Strubel said.

Commvault partners can expect to see significant changes to the pricing and packaging of products, he noted. Changes include plans to decrease the number of SKUs, as well as parts required to build solutions. Additionally, Commvault will introduce new sales and technical enablement resources. “We will make multiple system-based and people-based venues available to our partners to get better enabled on selling the newly simplified Commvault solutions and taking them to market,” he said.

Strubel also revealed plans for more investments in demand generation, bringing “more leads to our partners in the coming year than we have brought in any year prior.”

Lifesize retools partner program

Lifesize, a video collaboration vendor based in Austin, Texas, has revamped its channel partnership strategy in an effort to boost partner margins.

The Lifesize partner program now offers a two-tiered incentive structure. The first tier rewards distributors for finding net new resellers for Lifesize, while the second tier rewards distributors as their existing resellers move up in the Lifesize program, from Silver to Gold status, for example.

“It’s not enough to just find new partners. We need all partners to grow their Lifesize business,” said Tim Maloney, senior vice president of worldwide channels at Lifesize. The company currently has more than 1,500 partners.

Maloney said partners will play a central role in launching Lifesize Dash, a recently announced software-based collaboration offering for small meeting spaces. The product, priced at less than $1,000, will be available in the third quarter of 2018.

Other news

  • Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider, closed on its purchase of Wipro Ltd.’s hosted data center services business in the U.S., Europe and Singapore. Acquisition activity among cloud services and hosting providers has intensified in recent months.
  • Twilio, a cloud communications platform company, launched Twilio Build, a channel program that offers go-to-market support, training and certification, and a partner success team. Twilio said the program has two partner tiers — Registered and Gold — as well as a marketplace where partners can showcase their Twilio offerings.
  • SolarWinds MSP, an IT service management solution provider, unveiled MSP Pulse, a benchmarking tool for MSPs. The tool was developed in partnership with The 2112 Group.
  • JASK, a security operations center platform vendor, said it has raised $25 million in Series B funding. The company said the funding round, led by Kleiner Perkins, will let the company “expand global sales channels,” increase hiring and focus on platform development. JASK launched a channel partnership strategy and program earlier this year.
  • CloudJumper, a workspace-as-a-service platform vendor, is partnering with Synoptek, an MSP. Synoptek will private label CloudJumper’s cloud workspace platform and streaming app services.
  • Tech Data signed a distributor agreement with Omnicharge, a power-source vendor, to provide its multiport power bank and power station products. Omnicharge said it products come with one-year limited warranty and lifetime customer support.
  • Atmosera, a Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, appointed Ellie Soleymani as director of marketing and Mark Lipscomb as director of customer success.

HPE partners urged to tackle the ‘Super Six’ market opportunities

LAS VEGAS — At the HPE Global Partner Summit 2018, Hewlett Packard Enterprise laid out six market opportunities it wants to jointly pursue with channel partners.

HPE executives said half of the “Super Six” opportunities are ripe for HPE partners to immediately capture and half involve more long-term strategies and investments. The short-term opportunities include Gen10 servers, blade servers and all-flash arrays, HPE said. The forward-looking opportunities center on everything as a service, software-defined infrastructure and the intelligent edge.

“What the Super Six represents are six huge transitions that we see happening right now in the marketplace,” said Phil Davis, chief sales officer at HPE, at this week’s Summit.

He said HPE has been busy transforming its portfolio to align with Super Six opportunities, which he said collectively makes up a $65 billion market. Additionally, the company has received clear signals from its customer base the Super Six represents areas to double-down on. “The accelerated growth rates that we are seeing in these areas absolutely prove [the Super Six] is where our customers see … value,” he said.

Short-term opportunities for HPE partners

Davis described HPE’s immediate Super Six opportunities as having about a two- or three-year window that partners can exploit if they act fast.

Gen10 transitions: Customer refreshes to HPE’s Gen10 servers amount to about a $20 billion opportunity, Davis said. He noted that HPE partners that lead with HPE OneView, the vendor’s converged-infrastructure management platform, have “a great opportunity to refresh our own, as well as competitive environments.”

OneView “delivers a substantially differentiated experience for our customers in terms of ease of deployment of infrastructure in terms of automation of routine tasks, in terms of being able to take costs out,” he said. He noted that HPE recently shipped its one millionth OneView license.

Blades: Davis asserted that HPE essentially invented the server blade category and has led in it for every quarter.

It is critical that we lead with everything as a service [and] we lead with a consumption model with HPE GreenLake because it is what customers want.
Phil Davischief sales officer, HPE

The second strongest player in the market, Cisco, with its Unified Computing System (UCS) technology, is decreasing its focus on the blades market, he said. “If you watch what is going on with [Cisco’s] investments, it really seems like they are pulling back,” Davis said. “We haven’t seen the same pace of innovation for them and it looks like they are doubling-down on security and other places. It looks like Cisco isn’t looking to invest in the future.”

He said the server blades market represents a $6 billion opportunity for HPE and its partners and it’s “all coming up for grabs right now.”

Flash storage: As a $7.7 billion market growing at 15%, the transition to all-flash storage is “a huge opportunity” for HPE partners to disrupt, Davis said.

Among HPE’s differentiators in the flash market is its InfoSight predictive analytics technology, which HPE gained through its Nimble Storage acquisition. Now deployed in all HPE storage systems, InfoSight uses machine learning and AI to predict and remediate storage environment issues.

Davis said HPE has looked to gain a strong position by recently rolling out the HPE Store More Guarantee for the Nimble all-flash array. Launched in March, Store More Guarantee promises customers that the Nimble product “will store more data per raw terabyte of storage than any other vendor’s” all-flash array, according to HPE. The guarantee states that HPE will accommodate the customer’s additional storage for free if HPE Nimble all-flash array fails to meet the storage efficiency of a competitor’s array.

Long-term HPE partner plays

HPE’s Super Six long-term technology opportunities focus on generational changes occurring within customer organizations. Davis said these changes will be “long-lasting over the next three, five, maybe 10 years.”

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HPE executives discuss the flash storage market
at the Discover 2018 conference.

Everything as a service: HPE recognizes that the public cloud has transformed customer expectations of how IT should operate. The main expectations are that IT should be scalable and customers should pay only for what they use, Davis said. HPE’s solution for this market trend is HPE GreenLake consumption-based services delivered by HPE Pointnext. The company unveiled a partner program for HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity services on Monday.

“It is critical that we lead with everything as a service [and] we lead with a consumption model with HPE GreenLake because it is what customers want,” Davis said.

Software-defined infrastructure: HPE said it is looking to deliver an on-premises yet public cloud-like experience for customers at lower pricing compared with cloud. Core to that aim is the vendor’s software-defined strategy, which Davis said partners can think of as “going hand in hand” with HPE’s everything-as-a-service focus.

To cash in on the opportunity, HPE partners need to start customer conversations with HPE OneView, which manages the data center’s software-defined systems, he said. Synergy, HPE’s composable infrastructure platform, is another important piece for capturing the opportunity. Synergy “is really one solution for all of your customers’ workloads, whether they are virtualized, bare-metal [or] containers. It really gives a very flexible, automated experience to your customers with the maximum efficiency of resources,” he said.

HPE’s acquisition of Plexxi plays an important role, providing hyper-converged networking technology. “What [Plexxi] enables us to do is put that same composability that you have come to love in Synergy into hyper-converged,” he said.

Intelligent edge: The intelligent edge was a main area of focus at its Discover conference, held in conjunction with GPS. HPE revealed it would invest $4 billion over the next four years in intelligent edge technology and services.

“This is a massive, disruptive opportunity that we see,” Davis said, adding that the total addressable market is expected to reach $26 billion by 2020.

Antonio Neri, HPE’s president and CEO, told HPE Global Partner Summit 2018 attendees that “most of the data … is now generated on what we call ‘the edge.'” Seventy-five percent of data is generated on the edge, he added.

The edge is where “we live and work, where billions of people and trillions of things come together, interacting with each other but most importantly interacting with data in a secure way,” Neri noted. “That’s the opportunity: In this sea of 1s and 0s, how do we create value?”

Davis pointed to HPE’s Aruba Network’s portfolio as the means for HPE partners to jump into the intelligent edge market. Additionally, though HPE’s acquisition of Niara, Aruba IntroSpect user and entity behavior analytics technology can play a role.

“We see opportunities in every industry, everywhere around the globe,” Davis said.