5 Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending Oct. 6, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including Palo Alto Networks, Trend Micro, Zoom Video Communications, Ingram Micro, and Cisco Systems and Nutanix.


The Week Ending Oct. 6

This was a big week in terms of IT vendors – especially cybersecurity tech developers – upping their channel game by unveiling major revamps and expansions of their partner programs.

Topping this week’s Came to Win list is Palo Alto Networks, which debuted major enhancements to its NextWave Partner Program that will enable the channel to sell more products across its broad cybersecurity portfolio.

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Also making the list are Trend Micro and Zoom Video Communications for announcing significant upgrades and expansions of their partner programs.

Cisco Systems and Nutanix make this week’s list for launching their first joint hyperconverged infrastructure product – the fruit of their recently announced alliance.

And distributor Ingram Micro makes the list for extending the ground-breaking capabilities of its Xvantage platform with a new mobile application.

Palo Alto Networks Unveils Big Upgrades To Partner Profits, Sales Rep Incentives

Palo Alto Networks this week rolled out major new enhancements to partner profitability and predictability as part of its drive to enable the channel to sell more products across its broad cybersecurity platform, Channel Chief Tom Evans told CRN.

The update to the company’s NextWave Partner Program included a pair of significant changes that were disclosed to partners Monday. With the changes, the cybersecurity giant has now shifted to a compensation model based on backend rebates. The company has also introduced a more lucrative incentive for individual partner sales representatives.

For partner businesses, the shift to backend rebates should “make their profitability much more predictive and enhance their profitability, so that they can figure out ways to invest” in growing with Palo Alto Networks, said Evans, vice president of worldwide channel sales at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company.

In the past, Palo Alto Networks — which generates 95 percent of its revenue through the channel — has focused heavily on upfront discounts as a means of enabling profitability for partner businesses.

With the shift, Palo Alto Networks is moving from offering just a small number of rebates to its largest partners to providing nearly 40 different backend rebates — some of which will be available to all NextWave partners.

Two types of new rebates will be offered to NextWave solution provider and MSSP partners: “Expertise” rebates for closing or registering deals in the partner’s area of specialization or proficiency, and “Opportunity” rebates for providing additional sales or technical value.

Trend Micro Redesigns Partner Program With New Competencies, Discounts

Trend Micro took another major step in its efforts to enable the channel to deliver more services around its Vision One cybersecurity platform with the launch this week of a redesigned partner program that adds new competencies, assessments and discounts for partners.

In addition to competencies for professional services and managed security services, Trend Micro is now offering competencies for cloud security, Security Operations Center (SOC) and incident response.

Louise McEvoy, vice president of U.S. channels at Trend Micro, told CRN that earning competencies will also qualify partners to receive additional discounts — which are now being introduced with the channel program update. Other new discounts being added are linked to partners bringing in brand-new customers to Trend Micro or transacting through marketplaces, she said.

Trend Micro is also debuting new assessment tools that can help partners deliver additional services in new areas, the company announced.

This was a busy week for channel programs in the cybersecurity space. Okta, which held its 2023 Partner Summit this week, wins a shoutout for unveiling the new Partner Product Hub to better inform partners about Okta products and provided details about an upcoming partner portal update. Okta launched a major overhaul of its partner program in March.

Zoom Up Partner Program ‘2.0’ Includes New Incentives, Support Programs As Company Boosts Channel’s Role

Completing a trifecta of partner program items in this week’s 5 Came to Win, Zoom Video Communications unveiled improvements to its Zoom Up Partner Program – what the video conferencing giant called Zoom Up “2.0” – during its Zoomtopia 2023 conference this week.

The program expansions pavethe way for greater rewards, profitability, and access to resources for partners, Zoom channel chief Todd Surdey told CRN.

The revamped Zoom Up partner program now includes three new levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Partners can move up to the Gold level by achieving a product competency. Partners can reach the Platinum level by proving knowledge and skills across the Zoom portfolio by earning multiple product competencies. Zoom said existing partners automatically transitioned to their corresponding level at the program’s launch of the new program this week and will have the opportunity to move up the levels immediately.

“These levels will allow partners to demonstrate knowledge with accreditations and multiple competencies on our products,” Surdey said.

Along with the new levels, Zoom also plans on rewarding partners for making investments with the video provider. The revamped Zoom Up program will offer increased profitability, access to resources, and investment from Zoom. Partner rewards are tiered in accordance with the partner’s Zoom Up level, Surdey said.

Zoom is doing about 30 percent of its business through the channel globally, a figure that’s been rising steadily since the creation of the partner program four years ago, the company told CRN.

Zoom also launched a series of new programs and resources to help partners develop their Zoom practices. The Partner Customer Success Program will arm partners with the expertise they need to take on full ownership of the post-sale customer relationship, boosting adoption and renewal of Zoom services. And the new Partner Support Program, introducing four support levels based on the level of partner investment within Zoom, will help partners provide customers with technical support and put partners in control of the customer support relationship, leading to faster time to problems resolution and improved customer experiences.

Cisco, Nutanix Unveil First Combined Hyperconverged Offering, Expanding Partner Opportunities

Industry powerhouses Cisco Systems and Nutanix this week made good on their plans to offer an integrated hyperconverged infrastructure product, unveiling Cisco Compute Hyperconverged with Nutanix, aimed at providing customers and partners with a simple, flexible and scalable HCI offering that addresses hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud needs.

The new product unveiling follows the August announcement of the Cisco-Nutanix alliance and plans to develop a combined HCI portfolio using Cisco’s SaaS-managed computing and networking infrastructure – Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) with Cisco Intersight — and the Nutanix Cloud Platform, including Nutanix Cloud Infrastructure, Nutanix Cloud Manager, Nutanix Unified Storage and Nutanix Desktop Services.

The new offerings will be sold by Cisco and its partner community.

Cisco and Nutanix formed their alliance after Cisco announced that it would be discontinuing its Hyperflex hyperconverged portfolio.

Ingram Micro Launches Xvantage Mobile App

Partners are calling Ingram Micro’s new Xvantage mobile application “a game changer,” which they say will make it easier for them to do business with the global distributor.

The debut of the mobile application comes just over a year after Ingram Micro launched the Xvantage platform that uses automation intelligence and machine learning to provide partners with a personalized experience with data insights tailored to each partner’s needs.

Partners can search products, make and track orders, see their active credits, and track invoices, returns and claims. Like the Xvantage website, the app also gives recommendations to trending and popular products that are being ordered.

The new Xvantage mobile app, developed for iOS and Android, will be available for IT service partners at the end of August with a version for IT vendors currently in the works.