CRN Exclusive: Netwrix Relaunches Partner Program To Be More Channel-Friendly

When Netwrix launched its first channel program in 2013, it was a self-admitted failure.

"We screwed up," said John Ross, who joined the company last July as vice president of strategic alliances.

Now the network visibility and security auditing company is making a triumphant return to the channel, eliminating its previous program and launching a refreshed partner program that it said uses lessons from its rocky channel past to create plenty of opportunity for partners.

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The old partner program tried to be everything to everyone, which was a "huge mistake" as it created downward pressure on margins with no option for deal registration, Ross said.

When he joined the company last year, Ross said his job was to terminate the wrong kind of partners and create a formal partner program for the Irvine, Calif.-based vendor.

With this new program launch, Ross said the company has the terms, distribution agreements and licensing model to successfully relaunch to the channel.

The new program has three tiers, with margins at the low end starting at 10 percent for pure referrals and escalating to 25 percent and 30 percent for higher silver and gold tiers in the U.S. The program also will include deal registration, renewals, ticketing and more within its partner portal, which will launch the week of July 13.

In addition to lessons from the previous program, the company modeled the new program after some of the successes it has seen in the European market, which didn't inherit the same channel problems as in the U.S., said Peter Smith, regional sales manager for Netwrix's European region. There, the company is landing high-profile contracts, including Formula 1, the NHS, big banks and more.

"If you were to look at us a year ago, we were a completely different company," Smith said. "We've gone up the food chain a little bit. The partners we've dealt with in the past we don't deal with any longer, but we're getting the attention of different partners now."

The program will be targeted at recruiting partners with security compliance or remediation expertise, Ross said. As a result, the company has changed its recruitment focus and terminated partners focusing on online marketing as well as smaller independent resellers, he said. Resellers looking to get involved with the program can still refer customers through its referral program.

"We want the right partners -- that is the key," Ross said.

Netwrix will particularly focus on managed service providers in those areas, Ross said, as they have the ability to remediate and add more services around security and compliance problems found through the company's tools.

Since the company launched its subscription license model focused on MSPs in October, it has signed up 25 MSPs and sold more than $1 million in recurring revenue through them, Ross said.

"It's a huge opportunity for the partner and it drives a ton of services for them because once they see it, they have to fix it," Ross said. "Clearly, there is a need for this offering and clearly there's an opportunity."

The new program already has 35 partners in the U.S., including the 25 MSP partners, Ross said. Netwrix has also recently added big-name security partners, such as FishNet Security, which is undergoing an integration with Accuvant to become Optiv Security.