Net Optics Taps Former HP, RSA Channel Exec As First Channel Chief

Network monitoring specialist Net Optics has found its first channel chief in a former HP and RSA channel executive.

Twenty-year channel vet Anthony D'Angelo has been tapped by Net Optics to be its first-ever vice president of channel sales, the company told CRN this week. In his new role, D'Angelo is responsible for managing the relationships between Net Optics and its roughly 100 North American channel partners.

According to D'Angelo, Net Optics' decision to create a channel chief role not only reflects its growing commitment to the channel, but its belief that solution providers are key to helping customers scale their networks, and prepare those networks for trends like virtualization and SDN.

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"The need [for a channel chief] was there because customers are looking for guidance around how to manage all the tools they are deploying on their networks, and how to expand and scale their infrastructures," D'Angelo told CRN. "It's resellers that are in the best position to offer that guidance. So we see partnering as incredibly important to our growth, and to our customer-first approach."

D'Angelo said one of his first priorities is to drive more Net Optics sales through the channel. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company sells roughly 65 percent through partners today -- up from the 50 percent it did last year -- but D'Angelo said he hopes to grow that number to the "85-plus" mark within the next year.

Looking at his resume, he seems up to the task. Prior to joining Net Optics, D'Angelo spent three years heading up worldwide channel sales and distribution for HP's Enterprise Security business, where he helped channel partners navigate major HP security acquisitions, including that of TippingPoint and Fortify.

Prior to HP, D'Angelo spent four years as director of channel sales, North America, at RSA.

In addition to driving more Net Optics' sales through partners, D'Angelo also said he hopes to ramp up partner opportunities around Net Optics' Phantom Virtual Tap, a virtualized network monitoring tool that lets users keep tabs on network traffic as it moves from one virtual machine to another.

"When you talk about virtualization and cloud, the network folks, they can see fairly well and are compliant on their physical networks. But the virtualized network traffic, in many cases, is just completely unknown to them," D'Angelo said. "So we and our partners are in a great position to help those end customers start connecting the dots."

D'Angelo said Net Optics partners also can expect to see revamped partner enablement efforts, more joint-selling opportunities with the Net Optics direct sales team, and new incentive programs as he takes to his role.

NEXT: Quality, Not Quantity

Improving the quality of the relationships Net Optics already has, rather than forging new ones, is the priority, D'Angelo said.

"We want to be very focused on the profitability of partners, and our strategy will reflect that," D'Angelo said. "I'm absolutely looking at the quality of relationships with the right partners out there. My strategy is not quantity."

Brian Handrigan, president of Telnet Networks, an Elizabethtown, Ontario-based solution provider and Net Optics partner, said he sees the appointment of D'Angelo as good news for partners.

"I think it’s a very strong message from Net Optics that they are committed to the channel and we can continue to grow with them," Handrigan told CRN.

Handrigan, who said his Net Optics business over the past four years has shot up 300 percent, noted that Net Optics' new channel chief role is one of several changes the company has made recently to better support partners.

"Even before [Net Optics] introduced this new VP of channels role, they've also increased their sales force here over the last two years. We've had more access to salespeople over the last two years than we had over the years previously," he said. "So there's been a lot of expansion from Net Optics as far as resources in the field."