Ruckus Unveils Revamped Channel Program With Higher Margins, New Specializations

Ruckus is giving its channel a shot in the arm ahead of the company's merger with Arris through a revamped Partner Program with improved margins and new specializations set to drive Internet of Things sales.

The new partner program is simplified into two-levels – Select and Elite – with "single digit" margin increases for partners on certain solutions, and a strong emphasis on cross selling Ruckus' wireless and newly obtained wired portfolio from Brocade, according to Ruckus' new channel leader Raelyn Kritzer.

"With Brocade's acquisition of Ruckus, and with the pending divestiture – we are a complete wired and wireless company, and we know when those products are sold together, there's more profitability in it for the partner. Partners can increase their profitability by 40 percent when selling these together," said Kritzer, in an interview with CRN. "We're doing a lot of the incentives through some of our Spiffs and promotions to really encourage that cross sell."

[Related: Ruckus' New Channel Leader: 'We're Going To Come Out Of This Stronger Than Ever Before']

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Brocade acquired Ruckus last year for $1.2 billion. Brocade-Ruckus is set to be acquired by Broadcom by the end of October for $5.9 billion; Broadcom plans to then sell Ruckus and Brocade's IP networking business to Arris International immediately.

The new program also has better incentives and rewards for top Ruckus partners via enhanced sales enablement tools and visibility into customer leads. Elite partners are entitled to new rebates, marketing development funds and a high-touch approach with Ruckus' direct sales team.

"We've increased the amount of sales folks who are supporting our partners by three-times over the last year. So partners will feel that in this new program," said Kritzer. "So we have a really strong sales organization ready to support our partners and provide them with the leads to make them more successful."

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based networking company is also launching two new specializations for partners to attack the public sector and education markets, including Ruckus' Smart City/Large Public Venue Channel Specialization Program.

Partners who earn the Smart City/Large Public Venue specialization receive access to sales leads, as well as dedicated MDF and additional rebates.

Kritzer said Ruckus' marketing team is going through an "enormous transformation" with the goal of providing more sales leads for the channel around large public venues and cities opportunities.

"This is absolutely part of IoT. … We have some great outdoor access points, where we are really differentiated," said Kritzer. "With our technology, we also have the ability to provide great service within a high-density environment. That's really where we're expanding."

Al Brown, CEO of SmartWave Technologies, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based solution provider and Brocade-Ruckus partner, said Ruckus' new focus on the smart city market "will only help us grow."

"With respect to working with city governments and all the challenges associated with that – just to deploy a single AP is complicated. I think this is going to add value throughout the company to know that we have that discipline and help from Ruckus," said Brown.

"We have a unique skill set in building these networks as we take them outdoors and into communities, as we're doing with the city of San Jose [Calif.] … We're seeing more and more of that," said Brown. "Their product set is ideal for that."

Ruckus is also launching a new Higher Education Specialization Program with similar access to sales leads, dedicated MDF and additional rebates.

The Smart City/Large Public Venue specialization is available today, while the Education specialization will be available on Nov. 1. Both specializations are only available to Elite Ruckus partners.

"The launch of these new programs is really intended to make it a lot easier for partners to be able to work with Ruckus. We've seen a lot of situations out there where there's multiple levels in the program, very high thresholds – our goals here is to retain the partnerships that we have, as well as to make it really attractive to new partners to want to work with Ruckus," said Kritzer.

Ruckus also created a dedicated program for its distributors. Kritzer said about 51 percent of Ruckus' business focuses on the SMB market and sometimes the vendor can't scale to accommodate everyone.

"We made investments in distribution to our programs and through enablement so that those distributors can act on our behalf," said Kritzer.

Ruckus' revamped program will kick-off at the start of its first fiscal quarter 2018 on Nov. 1. Arris will adopt the new program with Ruckus acting as an independent business unit inside the company.

Broadcom's $5.9 billion blockbuster acquisition of Brocade hit a major hurdle in July that has delayed the purchase for months. The acquisition, which was first unveiled in November, was set to be completed by Aug. 1. However, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) halted the process to review the deal further.

Kritzer, a longtime Brocade partner champion, is taking over the channel chief position left open when Sandra Glaser Cheek left last month. Kritzer currently is senior director of worldwide partner programs and enablement for Brocade and has been with the company for 16 years.

"We're really excited to be able to offer this new program to our partners," said Kritzer. "We've got a pulse on what partners are going through right now and we're just trying to minimize the disruption with their business. So my hope and my goal is that we're going to continue to do that. We're moving through this. We're going to come out of this stronger than ever before."