How are best-of-breed technology vendors empowering the IT channel?
With that question in mind, Axispoint President and CEO Dan DiSano conducted a Q&A session Tuesday morning at The Channel Company's 2017 Best of Breed conference, where new Fortinet Channel Chief Jon Bove, Sophos Director of Channel Sales, East, Regina Vignone and Samsung VP of Sales-Enterprise Greg Taylor discussed several channel trends.
Topics the panelists addressed include how their companies are enabling partner growth, driving cloud services revenue and encouraging profitability.
[Related: Best Of Breed 2017 Conference]
"Fear not – this is a story about optimism and growth," DiSano said.
With Fortinet and Sophos on stage, security naturally became a focus for many solution providers attending the session, such as All Covered managing director Jason Wright.
"Security, for a long time, has been an afterthought. It's been an insurance policy. It's been, 'Let's fill the customer full of FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) and hope they buy something.' You can't take that approach anymore," Wright said at the end of the session. "What we've started doing is taking basic or even advanced security-level services and baking them into our standard managed services offering, so it's not even an option. It's driving efficiencies and saving us from labor we'd have to exert to remediate problems we might not have otherwise had."
What follows is an edited excerpt of DiSano's in-depth conversation with Bove, Taylor and Vignone.
What is your channel strategy? How do you develop healthy and prosperous partnerships with the channel?
Bove: Our core channel strategy is ensuring we have alignment with our field sales organization. I have a laser-focus on ensuring we have a channel go-to-market that can support each of our vertical strategies and also our market penetration strategies. Driving value through our partner ecosystem that allows them to differentiate and gain additional wallet share from customers they serve today.
Taylor: The table stakes are: does the company make high-quality products? Each of us demonstrates that we make a state-of-the-art, high-quality product. It's the softer side of things Samsung is working on to help partners be engaged both in becoming more knowledgeable in some of the growing markets through our LMS and also utilizing our demand-gen platforms to create more revenue and higher growth for your companies.
Vignone: We do no business direct whatsoever. Field engagement and the field relationships our team has with the channel is very important to us. Providing education, awareness and programs for our partners to be profitable is really what we focus on.