Riverbed Names New Worldwide Channel Chief

Riverbed Technology on Tuesday confirmed Randy Schirman as its new vice president of worldwide channel sales. While Riverbed previously had sales chiefs dedicated to various channel partner segments, Schirman will now manage channel sales efforts for all segments and theaters on a global basis.

Schirman has been with Riverbed since 2008, when he joined as vice president of worldwide service provider sales. He later added Riverbed's systems integrator channels to his responsibilities, and in his new role will also direct Riverbed's cloud-based initiatives for the channel.

The growth of Riverbed's channel program has been steady throughout 2010, following a sweeping January update that saw it add several new sales and marketing programs, and open two-tier distribution of Riverbed products in North America for the first time. The company has also continued to bolster its executive ranks, hiring veteran talents away from Cisco and from i365.

Schirman is in effect Riverbed's worldwide channel chief, but he will work closely with Johnna Bowley, senior director of worldwide channels, partner and field marketing, and Riverbed's existing channel executive team.

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"There's going to be a tremendous, dominant focus on the VAR community and its adoption of Riverbed," Schirman told CRN Tuesday. "We had a focus on distribution on a global basis within the last year and into 2010, and then began a very heavy focus on distribution in the Americas. Distribution and a value-based pricing model, and the continued build-out of our existing core channel, are going to be some of the areas that see significant focus."

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What will come next, said Bowley, is increasing emphasis on Riverbed's chosen two-tier distributor partners in North America -- Avnet and Arrow -- to play a greater role in Riverbed's indirect sales. Channel sales account for about 91 percent of Riverbed's overall revenue.

Also on tap for the new year, Bowley and Schirman said, are new partner specializations focused on technical capabilities and particular expertise in storage, virtualization and other areas.

Riverbed's new technical training programs, several of which debuted in January, have also continued to gain popularity, Bowley said.

"We had pretty dramatic growth in terms of the number of certifications, as well as the level of technical competencies," she explained. "The growth has been in double digit percentages."