CRN Exclusive: SD-WAN Startup Viptela Launches First-Ever Partner Program With Assured Margins, No Levels

When creating Viptela’s first-ever partner program, Anthony D'Angelo – a former channel leader at HP, Westcon and RSA – set out to fix the failed channel initiatives from his pervious employers that hindered solution provider’s profitability.

’I’ve seen many channel fails over my 20 year plus career – conflicts with direct sales team, complicated onboarding, the vendors request for the partner to put ’skin in the game,’ that I’ve heard over and over again,’ said D'Angelo, vice president of Worldwide Channel Sales for Viptela. ’The goal of this program was to create a program that absolutely disrupted what the status quo was. I set out specifically to create something from scratch and not do something just because that’s the way it’s had been done.’

The San Jose, Calif.-based SD-WAN startup launched its vForce Global Partner Program today that offers an assured margin program, a rapid onboarding process, ’partner success’ funding and a no direct sales strategy topped off with a 100 percent channel sales model.

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’It’s terrible when vendors sort of give you a haircut on margins on competitive deals. All the partners have heard, ’We have to go skinny, so you have to go skinny,’’ said D'Angelo. ’So we created an assured margin program that really commits to our partners that if they are doing business development and bringing deals to us, that we will assure then a minimum margin. And that minimum margin could be as much as 20 percent.’

Even if Viptela increases discount levels, partner’s margins will not be affected, according to D’Angelo. ’That’s a really big commitment and unique to the industry,’ he said.

The program removes sales obstacles and bureaucracy for channel partners, according to D’Angelo, removing partner levels from vForce to instead focus on partners driving opportunities.

The program focuses on a streamlined and simplified onboarding approach as well as deal registration offerings aimed to boost partner profitability.

’Often time partners register deals and they still have to give up margins because there’s a partner competitor who has special pricing because of a tier or something like that and they have to give away margin to compete against a competitor that did not uncover the deal,’ said D’Angelo. ’We instituted a deal reg program that clearly differentiates from a profitability standpoint the partner that was driving the deal.’

Viptela’s vForce global program also includes a partner portal and funding around demand generation, marketing events and enablement activities.

Nearly 50 solutions providers have already joined the SD-WAN program including World Wide Technology, Logicalis and Alphaserve Technologies.

Arup Das, CEO of New York, N.Y.-based Alphaserve, ranked No. 395 on CRN’s 2016 Solution Provider 500 list, said Viptela’s program is unique to the market and will help Alphaserve increase manage services revenues.

’If you look at the large vendors over the years, they work with VARs and expect them to bring deals. Viptela is really engaging the sales team to work hand-to-hand with as and they’re bringing us into opportunities,’ said Das. ’It’s kind of a fresh look at the whole channel to-go-market strategy.’

Research firm IDC estimates that worldwide SD-WAN revenues will exceed $6 billion in 2020 with a CAGR of more than 90 percent over the next four years.

Viptela provides SD-WAN technology that virtualizes WAN infrastructure. The platform allows enterprise to build carrier agnostic, policy-controlled and cost-effective WANs

The startup’s solutions has been deployed at thousands of sites by over 25 Fortune 500 enterprises, while carriers including Verizon and Singtel are using Viptela to deliver managed SD-WAN services. D’Angelo said that more than 15,000 of its vEdge SD-WAN routers in production across the globe.

’The way they do the tunneling, the way they do configuration, the GUI, the way its set up and the ease of deployment – it’s all very simple,’ said Das. ’Although their technology is very sophisticated, it’s a simple overlay transport that you can build around your existing infrastructure without having to do a rip and replace.’

Viptela emerged from stealth in 2014 led by founder and CEO Amir Khan, a former executive at Juniper Networks and Cisco. Solution providers can sign up for vForce today.

’We don’t look at partners as just an extension of our sales force, we look at ourselves as an extension of their business,’ said D’Angelo. ’We’re trying to shift that very vendor-centric mentality that most vendors, particularly the large legacy vendors in infrastructure have, and take a very partner centric approach and put them first in everything we do.’