Riverbed Revamps Partner Program, Focuses On Technical Certifications

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Premier partners, meanwhile, need to hold at least one competency, while Authorized partners don't need to hold any competencies.

Riverbed said partners can still sell a product even if they don't a hold a competency in that particular technology area, but the discounts on those sales will be no more than 10 percent. Partners qualify for deal registration as soon as they earn one competency.

To receive competencies, partners need to complete online training courses that range from four to seven hours, based on the particular competency. For Elite partners, eight employees -- including four individuals on the sales side and four on the technical side -- need to complete a course to earn the competency. Premier partners must have four employees, also evenly split between technical and sales staff, complete the course.

Steve Inman, president of VistaOne, a Richmond, Va.-based solution provider and Riverbed partner, said he views the program changes and new value-based rewards structure as "very positive." Inman said he especially welcomes the new competency and training requirements, as they allow partners to either go deep with one particular product, or to sell across the entire Riverbed portfolio.

"I think what's really creative about [the program] is that it respects that some companies might have expertise in a given areas versus others," Inman told CRN. "But, at the same time, it encourages holistic participation. It does allow me and my peers to pick and choose, but at the same time, it's in no way a disincentive to become experts in some of the other fields that may not be naturally within our sweet spot."

Riverbed also said it's planning to roll out partner specialties around specific vertical markets, such as state and local government, in 2014.

Riverbed's new partner program comes just days after reports surfaced suggesting the company is pursuing a sale. Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Riverbed, amid mounting pressure from an activist fund to increase shareholder value, is working with Goldman Sachs to "study strategic options."

Schirman said Riverbed does not comment on rumor or speculation, but added that "every element of the company is heads-down in a growth mode on all fronts."


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