Pivot3 Expands Partner Program To Widen Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Channel Opportunities

Hyper-converged infrastructure technology developer Pivot3 this week expanded its reach to channel partners with the introduction of its first multi-tier channel program.

Pivot3 also expanded its technology partner ecosystem with the unveiling this week of a number of storage vendors working with Pivot3 on joint offerings related to the Pivot3 Acuity NVMe storage-based hyper-converged infrastructure appliances.

Those new technology partnerships include HyTrust, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of cloud and virtualized environment management and security products; Veeam, a Baar, Switzerland-based developer of data protection technology; and Liquidware, an Alpharetta, Ga-based developer of desktop management software.

[Related: The 11 Coolest Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Products Of 2017 (So Far)]

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While the expansion of Pivot3's channel program includes incentives aimed at helping partners grow their business, it also includes deal registration incentives targeting even the smallest of solution providers, said Mark Maisano, vice president of global channel sales for the Austin, Texas-based company.

"We designed this program to enable partners to grow as Pivot3 grows," Maisano told CRN. "It was designed to work with partners in the SMB and enterprise markets. We what to help them be more effective."

Pivot3 is replacing its former single-tier channel program with a new two-tier program, Maisano. The primary difference between the two is the revenue threshold of $2 million in annual Pivot3 revenue needed to move from the entry-level associate tier to the premier tier, he said. There is no minimum revenue requirements for associate-level partners, he said.

"There will be exceptions based on customer reach or other circumstances," he said. "If we believe the partner's business ramp will get it to the premier threshold level, we may help them get there early."

Partners at both levels will need certifications and specialties, Maisano said. "We want partners, regardless of size, to get certified and become an extension of our business," he said. "We want to make sure smaller partners can also participate in delivery and services."

Deal registration is a big part of the new program, Maisano said. "As partners grow their Pivot3 revenue, they will get additional benefits," he said. "But we want to ensure partners of any size get protection with deal registration. When a partner closes a deal and chooses a distributor, we will lock in its pricing advantage. We promise we will not forward any special pricing to partners who did not register the deal."

New partners at the associate level will be required to have one employee get a baseline sales certification and one get a technical pre-sales certification, both of which can be handled online, Maisano said.

As partners grow, they will have greater access to other benefits including market development funds, custom marketing programs, co-marketing, lead pairing, and more, he said. Pivot3 also offers partners at the highest level dedicated channel account manager support, priority access to engineering, and executive reviews, Maisano said.

Pivot3 has turned out to be a good channel partner and a good complement to other hyper-converged infrastructure providers like San Jose, Calif.-based Nutanix, said Matt Darlington, senior director of solutions and services at Bluerange Technology, a Morrisville, N.C.-based solution provider who works with both vendors.

Bluerange Technology has been working with Pivot3 for a few months and sees the company as the right fit for many of its clients, especially in the education and healthcare markets, Darlington told CRN.

"Sometimes it’s a matter of price," he said. "Nutanix has great technology and phenomenal management capabilities. But affordability matters to some clients. We're going after more rural hospitals which have tight budgets and resources."

Bluerange Technology also works with school districts which are dispersed over a wide area but which require centralized management which Pivot3 provides, Darlington said.

"Schools are also increasingly starting bring-your-own-device programs," he said. Pivot3 offers the ability to run virtual desktop infrastructure, work with various devices, and handle surveillance, all with no performance issues."

If Pivot3's new channel program works like the company says it will, it will be good for Bluerange Technology, Darlington said. "With our funnel, it would be to our advantage to be in the upper tier," he said. "Deal registration is great, but when we have pre-sales and post-sales questions, Pivot3 is there. We don't need to go around looking for the right resources. They're hand-holding us in the process as we get started."

Stewart Sonneland, CEO of Strategic Integrators, a Spokane, Wash.-based solution provider and early Pivot3 channel partner, said his company has invested in its Pivot3 partnership for the long-run.

"The new higher partner level provides us new opportunities, and more marketing dollars to help us better promote Pivot3," Sonneland told CRN.

Strategic Integrators has found Pivot3's technology superior to many other hyper-converged infrastructure vendors while being backed up to a support system clients love, Sonneland said. "When we deploy a Pivot3 system with a client, we have high confidence the company will take care of the client," he said. "And that's the most important thing."

Pivot3 currently has over 1,000 channel partners in the U.S., and hopes to see about 10 percent of them of them in the premier level by the first quarter of 2018, Maisano said.