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Change has been constant in the Blue Coat community over the past year. In August 2011, Blue Coat ousted then-CEO Mike Borman and appointed Gregory Clark as its new chief executive. Then in December came the announcement that Blue Coat would be taken private by investment firm Thoma Bravo following 11 years as a public company.
Earlier this year, Blue Coat made significant changes to its partner program, notifying about 27 percent of its roughly 2,400 partners that they would be demoted from higher-level partnering tiers of its Channel Advantage Program or cut from the program entirely. According to Cross, Blue Coat plans to more strictly enforce program requirements.
Blue Coat also recently added new channel resources, including marketing, engineering and support, an updated PRM system and a content syndication platform, plus back-end rebates for new product and service sales by Blue Coat partners.
On the flip side, Blue Coat plans to lower the services margins it offers to partners. Cross acknowledged criticism from the partner community about the move, but said Blue Coat's margins were significantly higher than industry averages and that partners need to be focused on new business.
"When you look at partners investing in Blue Coat and focused on net-new customers, the feedback has been more positive," Cross told CRN. "For the partnership community focused more on a surviving, renewal base of customers, it hasn't been as well received."
Blue Coat is expected to confirm more partner program updates during the conference this week. The company will also continue to make incremental investments in support and services, as well as R&D, and launch a number of new products in WAN optimization and Web security over the next three months.