CRN Exclusive: Channel Visionary Powell Set To Lead A Channel Application Services Revolution At LogicMonitor

David Powell

David Powell, a channel thought leader who helped lay the groundwork for recurring revenue sales growth at one of the top managed service providers in the country, has taken a new job at LogicMonitor aimed at leading the channel to a new era of "application-centric" and business outcome services sales growth.

Powell, a key player in helping drive the astronomical growth in recurring revenue cloud and managed services sales at TekLinks, No. 174 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, has been named general manager of the service provider business at LogicMonitor, maker of a highly regarded SaaS-based performance monitoring for "modern IT infrastructure."

Powell, who spent seven and a half years at TekLinks, most recently as vice president of marketing and strategic development, said the new job opens the door for him to play a key role in helping partners drive double- and triple-digit growth in sales and profits by pivoting from infrastructure performance to focused business outcomes.

That pivot effectively means adopting a strategic service provider business model transformation that "changes the conversation" from speeds and feeds discussions with CIOs to business outcome discussions with line-of-business leaders, said Powell.

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"Partners need to look at each application and determine what is the most effective and efficient way to deliver that application or workload to yield a certain business outcome," said Powell in an interview with CRN. "It requires an application-centric view of the IT world. Infrastructure spend is now tied to business outcomes. Infrastructure needs to serve the application."

Powell, who has always had a keen eye on identifying and capitalizing on channel shifts, said LogicMonitor's infrastructure platform is a foundational technology to help partners make the pivot to the strategic service provider application-centric model. That's because LogicMonitor has the platform and tools that open the door for partners to monitor modern IT infrastructure in diverse environments like Amazon, on-premise data centers or even traditional IT network infrastructure.

Powell's appointment is part of a commitment by LogicMonitor CEO Kevin McGibben to aggressively grow the service provider business with MSPs. McGibben told CRN in a roundtable of disruptive emerging vendors that the company is committed to relying more heavily on service providers, which currently account for about 40 percent of the company's sales. "We are laying down some bets that we think are good for both us and for our partners, and we fully expect it to continue to accelerate the business," said McGibben. "For us, we see more dependence on the channel partners as we go forward."

Powell compared the dramatic change in the channel business model to the evolution of content delivery in the TV business. The TV business, in fact, has moved from three networks delivering content off-premise to a business where content is driven by applications like Netflix, Hulu, ESPN and HBONow, said Powell.

"In the TV model, customers are looking at what is the best way to get the content they want to see from a specific place," said Powell. "You are aggregating disparate sources to create a unified experience. That is the exact thing that is going on in the IT space where customers are sourcing applications from disparate sources like Azure, Amazon, a data center nearby or on-premise to create a unified user experience."

The move to help drive a new era of application services revenue in the channel is not all that different from the pioneering work that Powell did to build the fast-growing recurring revenue services model at TekLinks.

"The key to our success at TekLinks, which now seems obvious, is the productization of services that were tight deliverables that we could sell to the customer," he said. "In the VAR business, we were selling ingredients and baking cakes specific for each customer. What we did was put all those ingredients in a box and sell chocolate cake instead of selling the ingredients each time."

In the MSP business, the change in conversation was from product speeds and feeds to services, said Powell. The strategic service provider environment requires partners to focus squarely on application modernization and rationalization, he said.

The new model requires partners to have expertise around where applications need to reside – on-premise, public cloud or hybrid cloud – to deliver the business outcome required by the line of business, said Powell.

The most efficient way to deliver a high-performance database may well be in Amazon Web Services, while the most efficient way to deliver an electronic medical records system with high-bandwidth nuclear camera images may well be in an on-premise data center, said Powell.

"If you go through the application discussion you find the best place to put all the different applications," he said. "That application complexity requires a partner with the expertise to go in and make all those applications talk to one another."

Powell said he is excited about building upon the success LogicMonitor has already had in the market with major MSPs like TekLinks, CWPS, ANS Group and Synoptek. Key to that offensive is building a service provider program that is designed squarely from the service provider perspective.

"Being on the partner side, I have seen a lot of standard channel programs that are built from the perspective of what makes the vendor successful," said Powell. "We are taking a creative approach to our service provider business that puts the partner success at the center of our program with an emphasis on the partner's success. We feel if the partner is successful, then we will be successful."

LogicMonitor has "big goals" for driving continued service provider growth with plans to move aggressively into the midmarket with playbooks designed to help those partners drive modern IT infrastructure sales growth, said Powell.

"We are not going to do a copy and paste of all the other vendor channel programs out there," he said. "We are going to look at things differently to grow this business significantly. I have a clean slate to build something really cool. That is energizing."

Ultimately, the LogicMonitor channel offensive is all about helping solution providers transform their business for the appliciation-centric services era, said Powell.

It's about crossing the chasm to not just survive the market shift, but to thrive, said Powell.

"A lot of people in the channel understand the need to transform, but they don't know how," said Powell. "What LogicMonitor is doing is providing partners with steps they can take to pivot the business so they can survive. Once partners move the business to the new consumption models, then they can really thrive and become more financially secure, creating more enterprise value in the business."