New Exec Promises To Turn Tumbleweed To Channel


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Dave Harris likes to see things grow. He likes to see companies grow. And he especially likes to see channel programs grow.

That same desire applies to Tumbleweed Communications, specializing in managed file transfer and content security, where Harris recently took the position as the new vice president of worldwide channels. At Tumbleweed, Harris will oversee the continuing global expansion of the Tumbleweed Alliance Program (TAP.)

Joining the Tumbleweed team in October, Harris said that he saw a great opportunity to be part of managed file transfer and data loss prevention, or what he terms as "the next frontier of security," at the company. "People spend a lot of time worrying about e-mail, monitoring e-mail, what is leaving the company and what has not been regulated," Harris said. "We are a solution for data in motion."

"It's a really nice match of strong value and product," he added.

Out of the gate, Harris' aims are not only to strengthen Tumbleweed's program, but to make it 100 percent channel-oriented by fourth quarter 2008. "We have a number of other relationships that are ongoing. Tumbleweed has been primarily a direct sales company," he said. "What we really need to do now is to flip the switch and become channel."

Priming the company for its transition by ensuring channel and partner readiness were at the top of the goal list, Harris said. "We are looking at our priorities. We want to recruit more security providers," he said. "Then the next thing we're working on is what we refer to as channel readiness -- making the company tuned up so that we're an efficient and effective company to deal with."

Overseeing channel programs isn't something new -- Harris comes to Tumbleweed with more than 25 years of experience in the business, which includes a long history of expanding channel programs. Harris came to Tumbleweed from security vendor SurfControl, specializing in content filtering, Web filtering and Web and desktop security software, where he oversaw the revitalization of its channel program as vice president of worldwide channels.

Before SurfControl, Harris held the position of North American vice president of sales at ActivCard, where he more than doubled the amount of revenue generated by the channel. And as vice president of worldwide sales and business development at Avantgo, acquired by Sybase, he increased average deal size by 300 percent. He also rose to vice president at Adobe Systems (where he says he first competed with Tumbleweed,) and held senior roles at Texas Instruments and Interlink.

"Dave's extensive sales, channel and management experience coupled with his depth of expertise in data security will be a great asset to our company and partners," said Nick Hulse, executive vice president of worldwide field operations, in a written statement. "His recent recognition as a VARBusiness Top 'Executive to Watch' and a CRN 'Channel Chief' speak to his leadership and experience. I am looking to him to infuse the same level of energy and leadership into our rapidly growing channel program."

Indeed, the company's channel program is starting to spread its wings. Tumbleweed recently welcomed 12 new Asia-Pacific partners into its alliance program, which added hundreds of professionals to sell its products in India, China and Australia. In addition, Tumbleweed hired a new EMEA managing director and recruited numerous other North American partners to TAP, which enables security resellers, solution and service providers, and system integrators to sell differentiated managed field transfer, e-mail security and identity validation products.

"We're doing everything we can to advantage (customers) in the beginning. That's always well received," said Harris. "It's all part of building the partnership."

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