BMC Reinvigorates Channel Efforts

IBM vet Lori Cook steps in

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Following a period of upheaval within its channel-management ranks, BMC Software has tapped an IBM veteran to help reinvigorate its partner strategy.

After 24 years with IBM, Lori Cook becomes BMC's new vice president of worldwide services, channels and emerging growth. Cook steps into a role previously handled by two executives, Willy Donahoo, who left the company and took a position at a Utah start-up, Cogito, and Paige Erickson, who is on leave from BMC.

Donahoo served as director of worldwide channel development and marketing, working for Erickson, who holds the title of vice president of worldwide channels and alliances. Under Erickson, Donahoo had mapped out an extensive plan for combining many of the complex channels that BMC had attracted and acquired over the years. After purchasing Remedy, Marimba, Magic, Viadyne and Calendra, BMC found itself with an amalgam of programs, policies, contracting vehicles and go-to-market strategies. Erickson and Donahoo had aggressive plans to roll out a comprehensive framework that would serve all of the roughly 450 or so partners of BMC, complete with common terms and conditions. The goal was to create a single, unified partner and alliance program that would match the company's product plans and go-to-market strategies more closely. Over time, BMC officials hoped that partners would develop multidisciplinary capabilities and use more of the BMC portfolio in their solutions development.

But implementing all of their plans proved more challenging than either Donahoo or Erickson thought. Enter Cook, who sat down with VARBusiness editors at CMP's recent XChange event in Orlando, Fla. On the job for a little more than three months, she says she was enticed by the opportunity to impact business partners directly after playing various roles at IBM -- running sales operations and, more recently, developing a services strategy for the SMB market.

Breathing new life into BMC's partnering strategy will be no small task, however, Cook acknowledges.

"Look, BMC historically has been insincere in its commitment to the channel," she says.

BMC counts 450 business partners globally today; a number Cook thinks is too high. She says she would like to focus on slightly fewer but more strategic, highly trained partners going forward. One of her primary goals is to leverage channel partners to help BMC land business in emerging accounts, which by her estimate numbers 45,000 potential opportunities.

"These are typically the fastest-growing accounts for us, and the ones with the most revenue potential," she says. One of her first moves was to financially incent BMC sales reps on these emerging accounts to send the business through the channel.

BMC's other customer markets include 40 strategic accounts that are serviced by the company's direct sales force, along with 1,900 enterprise accounts that both partners and the direct team sell into, she says.

Cook says she's also stepping up efforts to train partners across product disciplines and, like many other vendors in the industry today are doing, is encouraging them to sell BMC's software as a platform or comprehensive suite.

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