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Cloudera Channel Exec Gary Green On Expanding Partner Program, Going Private

‘That is what our new owners are giving us, to double down in public cloud, double down on hybrid cloud, to be able to expand the technology portfolio we have to deliver that. And then make sure that we have all the resources required from a go-to-market perspective to be able to service the customer and help them be successful,’ Gary Green, vice president of strategic partnerships for Cloudera, tells CRN.

With last month’s completion of a $5.3 billion deal to be acquired and taken private, hybrid data cloud company Cloudera now sees itself as better positioned to expand its lineup of multi-cloud technology offerings and grow its channel partner program.

Cloudera, based in Santa Clara, Calif., struck a deal in June to be acquired by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and global investment company KKR in an all-cash transaction valued at about $5.3 billion. The acquisition was completed in October with Cloudera becoming a private company.

“We are internally very excited about it because our partners, our investors realize that this hybrid data cloud marketplace was critically important,” Gary Green, vice president of strategic partnerships for Cloudera, told CRN. “They realized that investing $5.3 billion in us and helping us to be able to rapidly expand our public and hybrid cloud offerings would allow us to monetize that quicker.”

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Cloudera has about 2,000 customers today that are moving to the public cloud. But because of the industry they’re in, whether it’s healthcare, pharmaceutical, finance, or others, some of their workload must be in the private cloud.

“So hybrid [cloud] is critically important for them to be able to move workloads from private to public,” Green (pictured) told CRN. “They’re looking for a secured single pane of glass to be able to secure, manage and operate those workloads as it moves back and forth between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud.”

Another important aspect is that data has become more valuable.

“This COVID pandemic environment has created a data storm for all the customers,” he said. “What typically happens with data in an organization is if 100 people have access to the data, then 1,000 people now want it. They’re going to try to figure out how to not give all that data to everybody because they have to secure it, they have to manage it, they have to operate it. But they don’t have that ability anymore because decisions have to be made very quickly.”

That’s a major component Green sees from Cloudera’s customers. It doesn’t matter where the data sits, customers need to ingest it rapidly.

“They need to be able to data prep that, they need to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to quickly get that data out,” Green said. “They want to have it on prem[ises] and they want to have it in the public cloud and hybrid environment.”

What’s really critical for Cloudera’s partners, he said, is that Cloudera is training them and rewarding them for the competencies that their joint customers are looking for when it comes to big data and analytics in a hybrid environment.

“We are really evolving our partner strategy and partner programs to be able to make sure that our partner ecosystem can wind up and help us sell successfully to our customers,” he said.

Green said the partner program is evolutionary as Cloudera is in the process of building out many new features and functionalities to expand and enable its partners.

“They’re looking to be able to not just resell our software but they’re looking to be able to, when they have valuable services, provide value-added services around our offering to our customers,” he said.

Cloudera is also adding more learning management system features to make sure its partners sales and pre-sales teams get the same level of enablement and training that its own direct sellers have. Partners can also get certified and accredited through Cloudera University.

“It’s about getting to the level of the partner selling in your absence,” Green said. “It’s great to sell together, but to get that true partner leverage is when the partner is selling on your behalf without you there to allow you to go someplace else.

“This market opportunity is so large, and as a publicly traded company you’re under a microscope,” he added. “It doesn’t necessarily give you enough room to make extra investments and things that you want to do to accelerate the technology and the go-to-market to address and capture the market.”

For its partners and for its go-to-market strategy, going private allows Cloudera to put the right programs and infrastructure in place so that the partners also reap the rewards.

“With our new investors and the commitment that they have to leverage our partner ecosystem, they realize that in the thesis that we shared with them from our strategy is that we couldn’t grow the business without a really robust partner community, and they’ve completely bought into that,” Green said.

Going forward, Cloudera is focused on its existing customers and moving them from legacy versions to the cloud. The next is to move down into different market segments.

“We’ve been very focused at the top of the pyramid, when you talk about global accounts, strategic accounts and enterprises,” he said. “We’re going to start to move down into more of the commercial market segment.

“Everything we do is hybrid data cloud,” he added. “If that data and analytics workload is in the public cloud, we can move it anywhere they want and securely manage it. And we need the partners to help the customers get there and continue to be successful.”

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