RSA Touts Progress On Channel Program Overhaul


Michael Ross, area vice president for North American channels at RSA, Bedford, Mass., said RSA’s goal is not to recruit as many new partners as possible, but rather to expand its business and commit to partners that have already invested in training.

RSA said it has added 350 worldwide partners over the past year, although a spokesperson declined to say how many new partners were added in North America.

However, some partners are not pleased with the way RSA is handling its partner expansion. One VAR, who requested anonymity, said the vendor needs to focus more on protecting partners from price wars and channel conflict. “RSA may say they’ve signed up new channel partners, but they’re not really protecting these partners,” the source said. “If word gets out on the street about [an RSA RFP], there could be 10 people going for it. While RSA might protect you on the back end by giving five extra points, if you have 10 people bidding on a deal, the price is already going to be knocked down considerably.”

RSA has increased the number of sales and technical training courses it offers to partners, improved the availability of tools on its partner portal and added nine dedicated channel managers in the United States to facilitate communication with partners, Ross said. “Partners said having dedicated channel management is the key to better communication and accountability,” he said.

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RSA also has fine-tuned its deal-registration program so partners that find new opportunities will see the financial fruits of their efforts, Ross said.

Joe Luciano, CEO of Access IT Group, a solution provider in King of Prussia, Pa., said he’s seen a big improvement in RSA’s channel approach since last year. “They had a spotty record in the past, but there have been huge advancements in the way they talk to and provide information to channel partners,” he said.

RSA’s SecurWorld partner program is divided into two tiers. Access partners that have completed RSA’s sales certification training get deal registration and an additional rebate incentive after the deal is closed. Solution partners, who must complete technical certification as well as sales certification, get an instant rebate up front, Ross said.