New Cloudflare Channel Chief Unveils ‘Partner Program 2.0’

‘We want to be known as a program that is frictionless,’ says Matthew Harrell, Cloudflare’s new global head of channel sales and partners. ‘We want to be known as one that’s very easy to do business with and can help partners build compelling value propositions and businesses.’

Cloudflare is rolling out a more robust and structured partner program under a new channel chief lured to the internet performance and security company from Google Cloud.

The new partner program will extend beyond enterprise resellers, referral partners and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) partners to include service providers that want to develop practices around Cloudflare solutions, including systems integrators (SIs), global systems integrators (GSIs), managed service providers and managed security service providers, according to Matthew Harrell, the new global head of channel sales and partners for the San Francisco-based Cloudflare.

“We have over 16 million internet properties that are using our product, and that gives us a real competitive advantage in terms of building out very innovative solutions that allow us to protect and improve the performance of customers’ websites…and add additional features that are required by large enterprises,” said Harrell, who worked for 9.5 years at Google Cloud, serving as head of its channel business for the western U.S. and Latin America until this past December and the Americas prior to that. “As we move into that space, one of the requirements that we believe is going to help us be successful is to have the relationships and strong integration with the SI and GSI community to act as strong influencers in terms of those decision makers’ decision-making process.”

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The program is now tiered, with a launch tier for referral partners and standard, advanced and elite tiers, the latter for top revenue-generating partners. It also has a custom tier for OEM partners that embed Cloudflare products as part of a broader solution set.

The Cloudflare “partner program 2.0” was designed with the goal of developing “best-in-class” revenue-sharing models and value-added professional services and managed services that Cloudflare can scale through its partners.

“We want to be known as a program that is frictionless,” Harrell said. “We want to be known as one that’s very easy to do business with and can help partners build compelling value propositions and businesses.”

Cloudflare said it’s made it easier for partners to interact with the company through simplifying the deal registration process, smooth product trainings and more straightforward deal tracking.

It expanded its partner platform, initially built for its IBM partnership, to allow other partners to sell and provision Cloudflare for their customers in a scalable fashion. A tenant system allow partners to create end-user accounts so customers can directly access the Cloudflare dashboard, and the ability to provision subscriptions allows partners to enable paid services for their customers.

The changes follow Cloudflare’s announcement in March that it raised $150 million in its latest funding round to help support its growth, extend its product ranges and continue its international expansion, and reports last fall that the startup, whose software enables websites to load faster with greater security, was planning an initial public offering.

William da Cunha, who was leading Cloudflare's channel program and its Americas sales, now is focused solely on the latter.

Harrell said he joined Cloudflare because he was looking for an opportunity to build a partner program from the ground-up at a global scale for a company with a strong mission statement -- in Cloudflare's case, “helping to build a better Internet” – and that he was attracted by Cloudflare’s leadership team and market opportunity.

“When you have a massive global footprint like Cloudflare does with 175 points of presence, we really have a unique opportunity to…bring great innovation to an area that has needed innovation.” he said. “There is tremendous upside, and I’m super excited to be part of it.”

Cloudflare also is launching new partner training with independent certification tests and incentives to reward partners undergoing that process.

Harrell declined to disclose specifics about how partners will be compensated under the new partner program, including reseller margins and marketing development funds.

“We really want to make sure we help partners build valuable businesses,” he said. “There's two key components in my mind. One is putting together best-in-class opportunities for partners to make money through resell margin, and the second component is for them to develop recurring revenue streams.”