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BeyondTrust’s Rob Spee: It’s All About Partnerships

‘We’ve got to provide enablement to our partners to support our customers through that journey. So I’m putting in place a partner success team that will be that that bridge that looks at the end-to-end journey of the partner to provide that layer of support to the customer,’ says Rob Spee, BeyondTrust’s senior vice president of global channels.

Rob Spee joined BeyondTrust last October as the senior vice president of global channels to further the company’s partnerships. He comes to BeyondTrust, a Georgia-based leader in privileged access management, with more than 25 years of experience in leading successful channel organizations.

In his role, he will develop and execute a global partner strategy that supports diverse channels and partner business models. He will also focus on expanding market share through the firm’s global partner ecosystem.

“For me, the marketplace is just a transaction vehicle. Not nearly as important as the partnerships that spin off from that that you can leverage,” Spee told CRN.

CRN spoke with Spee about what he wants to learn in his new role and how he will further partnerships through a global strategy, enablement and the marketplace.


What attracted you to the position and BeyondTrust?

It was a couple things. First you always look at the company itself, the technology, seeing that it was in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester. The technology is super important and the people. Just seeing the culture looked like a great fit for me. We’re a proud company but also very humble at the same time. There’s just really good people to work with, that is always something that I look at.

The final piece is the channel opportunity, that starts with executive board-level commitment. Without that it’s no matter how great you are, you just can’t be successful. Seeing the level of opportunity in the company for growing the channel and really building out a world class partner program and partner ecosystem, that was really the great piece of it. And then just the job itself. Coming in as global channel and alliance leader and being able to step into a great company and build that whole global organization is something that I really look forward to doing.


You come with more than 25 years of experience, but what do you want to learn in this new role?

There’s always more to learn in the channel. Technology changes, the market scape changes, the ecosystem changes so there’s always more to learn or there are a lot of different ways to skin the channel cat. For me, the partner ecosystem continues to evolve. I speak to a lot of channel experts, I go into it with a channel focus, I talked to all my channel chief friends out there in the industry and we‘re all facing similar problems. We’re all trying to figure out how do you leverage these new go to market vehicles, like marketplaces and partnerships with AWS and Microsoft, and the influencer channel. All of these new elements keep popping up so we have to keep learning to be able to drive and really show value of the channel and meet the needs of the customer.


What problems are you seeing?

Viewing it from our systems perspective, we‘ve got a traditional VAR/VAT transactional channel, that’s a very long-standing channel. When you step into a company there are things that you can do to optimize that channel. That‘s one of the challenges and that’s something that I think channel chiefs continue to face. We‘re always looking to optimize that channel as things are changing and environments are changing.

Number two is leveraging routes to market-like system integrators. GSIs, MSPs, these aren‘t new, they’ve been on the channel for quite a while, but they‘re different than your traditional VAR/VAT channel. It takes different strategies, different resources and coverage to support these guys so that’s the second piece of the puzzle that I‘m working on.

The third piece is around more leveraging the new motions with the CSPs and their marketplaces. That‘s something that everyone’s facing. With the expectation that marketplaces are going to be a third of the transactions in the coming years, that‘s a lot of business that’s going to shift from traditional transaction model over to the marketplace. You’ve got to figure out how does the channel integrate with that? What‘s the role of the channel with the marketplaces?

There‘s the partnership with the marketplace owner but there’s also the partnership with all your other partners who also want to transact. If the customer wants a security solution, it’s probably going to be not just BeyondTrust. It could include other technology alliance partners of ours, so how do we help the customer transact very simply through the marketplace but also get all the services that they need from our partner community.


What is the first thing you want to tackle in 2022?

The first thing is optimizing that VAR/VAT channel. We‘ve got a two-tier distribution model around the globe. We’ve got a lot of great partners and great distributors, but I need to optimize it. What I mean by that is take the friction away, simplify it and really get the full value out of distribution. I want to take away the things that are hampering them from providing that value and giving them the tools that they need.

We‘re also building out our GSI (global system integrator) practice. We’re going to be expanding that team. We’re going to modernize our partner program to give more value to the GSIs.

Step three is around the MSP motion. We don‘t have an MSP program today, it’s in the works, so we‘ll be rolling out the MSP component. That involves MSP pricing, MSP contracts, MSP enablement, so we’ve got to piece all that together.

The fourth item, while this is all going on, is we have a separate alliances team building up our technology alliances with those CSPs, with the marketplaces. We’re taking what that team is doing and the integrations they‘re building and then bringing that into the partner community and leveraging that.


How do you plan on helping those partners in terms of growth?

We have three pieces of partner enablement. We have a partner sales enablement, we have partner pre-sales enablement and partner implementation enablement. What we don‘t have is the cohesive piece that puts it all together for that end-to-end partner journey. I look at the partner journey as covering the customer journey. We’ve got to provide enablement to our partners to support our customers through that journey. So I‘m putting in place a partner success team that will be that that bridge that looks at the end-to-end journey of the partner to provide that layer of support to the customer. That’s what we need to have to make sure that our partners are successful so that they learn how to sell, they learn how to do implementations and they can drive adoption and expansion.


Where do you think the industry will see the most growth in 2022?

There‘s a big expectation that the largest growth is going to, from a transactional perspective, be on the marketplace. The traditional VAR/VAT business, some of that’s going to shift over to the marketplace. The reseller business, as a whole, isn‘t necessarily going to decline from dollar amount because the whole industry is growing, but that may hold steady kind of flat while the marketplace continues to grow.

I think the managed service business is going to continue to grow because customers want a combined solution. They don‘t want just a single product. They want someone to put it together and many times they want it managed for them.


Why should companies partner with BeyondTrust?

There’s two things. One is to provide your customers with the best of breed technology for privileged access management, but also partners have to think about protecting themselves. MSPs are more and more at risk themselves. These cyber criminals are going through the MSP to attack the customer so they‘ve got to protect their own business and protect their customers business. Identity and access management is so critical so become a partner with BeyondTrust, to use our technology to protect yourselves and your customer.


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