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CA Revamps Channel Program, Creates New Tiers For Strategic Partners

The software company also promises simplified discount and rebate schedules, and more market development and demand generation assistance.

CA Technologies is overhauling its channel partner program in a move company executives described as an effort to invest more in partners the vendor deems "strategic."

The newly renovated program, now called the CA Advantage Partner Program, is also designed to simplify components of the company's partner operations, especially the wide range of discounts and back-end rebates that partners had to navigate.

"The previous program was very complex," said John Beuchert, senior director of CA's partner program, noting that there was "a lot of variability" in the discount and rebate schedules that created "a major stumbling block" for partners working with the vendor.

[Related: 2017 Partner Program Guide: 5-Star Software Vendors]

Beuchert, who joined CA from Veritas Technologies in July 2016, said that partner profitability, protection, differentiation and simplicity are the four pillars of the new initiative.

The most significant change in the new CA Advantage Partner Program is the addition of two new top partner tiers: Global Partners and Focus Partners. They top the Member, Advanced and Premier tiers that made up the old program and have been carried over to the new program, Beuchert said.

The new Global and Focus levels are for strategic partners, by invitation, who are willing to invest heavily in the CA relationship, including higher revenue commitments and expectations, and "more stringent business plan requirements and higher thresholds," according to the New York-based company.

In return CA will offer "expanded benefits to support their evolving business models," according to a company statement. Beuchert said that included more joint business development and go-to-market planning assistance. He said Focus and Global partner ranks would largely be current partners moving up from lower tiers, but with some newly recruited partners as well.

CA doesn't disclose the number of partners in its partner program. Beuchert said a goal of the new program is to increase the percentage of CA's sales that go through the channel, but he declined to disclose what that percentage is today or the company's channel sales targets.

"We have definite growth targets to increase the share of revenue that goes through partners over the next three years," Beuchert said.

The new program wins kudos from Nick Kavadellas, president and CEO of Orasi Software, a Kennesaw, Ga.-based solution provider that provides IT solutions and services in software development and testing, business analytics and other areas. Orasi has partnered with CA because of the vendor's "investment in a comprehensive portfolio of test data management solutions," Kavadellas said in a statement.

"We're optimistic about how CA's new partner program strategically aligns with our business goals to help us continue to be a leader in providing solutions across the software quality life cycle," he said.

The new program's simplified framework streamlines performance-based incentives and rebates, making it easier for partners to forecast their financial position on the front and back ends of deals and determine a deal's profitability, according to the company. Beuchert said the old program's discount structures created as many as 28 discount scenarios for partners.

The increased profit potential for all partners comes from the simplified reward payouts and from a number of new demand-generation initiatives – the latter supported by a new Partner Experience Platform with assets solution providers use to build marketing programs and manage marketing campaigns. But partners in the new Focus and Global tiers stand to earn the most with those tiers' higher profit margins.

Beuchert said CA would provide partners with some reimbursement for investments in deals that customers later decide to consummate without the partner.

Under the new program CA is also offering partners a choice on whether to take back-end rebates or invest them in business development funds that can be used toward training and enablement courses and certifications, customized training, and deal development activities such as building proof-of-concept systems to help drive sales.

Most of the program's components are geared toward CA Technologies' on-premise software products. But Beuchert said planning is under way to accommodate MSPs and service providers who work with cloud software.

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