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Ivanti Nabs GitLab Exec As New Channel Chief To Bring Consistency To Partner Programs

Jay Fitzgerald

‘We cannot realize our future without our ecosystem partners close at hand,’ says Michelle Hodges

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Michelle W. Hodges

Ivanti, provider of IT and security solutions for companies, announced on Wednesday the hiring of a new global channel chief charged with bringing varying channel programs into “one connected ecosystem” that can better serve partners and customers alike.

Michelle W. Hodges, who previously led the channel business at GitLab, has been tapped by the South Jordan, Utah-based Ivanti to fill the newly created position of senior vice president of global channels and alliances.

Hodges, who has also worked in various channel and routes-to-market roles at Microsoft, VMWare and Business Objects, told CRN that Ivanti already has a “great partner program,” which includes a recently unveiled “fully enabled” partners portal.

[RELATED STORY: Microsoft, VMware, Ivanti Lead UEM Market As Hybrid Work Takes Over]

But she said Ivanti, which has acquired a number of smaller firms in recent years, also has different OEM, technology, channel and other partner programs – and she sees her immediate job as “pulling them all into one connected ecosystem team to start being able to support our customers across their entire buying journey and Ivanti customer lifecycle.”

“We cannot realize our future without our ecosystem partners close at hand,” she said. “I know we want to concentrate on what we got and really improve it and then grow from there.”

Helping Hodges bring more consistency and synergy to Ivanti’s partner programs will be the recently hired John Beuchert, the firm’s new vice president of global partner programs and strategy.

In an interview with CRN, Beuchert, a seasoned channel veteran who most recently worked as global head of partner programs and operations at customer service software maker Freshworks, said he sees his new role as working with Hodges to develop a “consistent” strategy for Ivanti’s multiple partner programs.

Both Hodges and Beuchert said their goal is to grow Ivanti’s revenue via its existing 4,800 partners, not by expanding the number of its partners.

“I wouldn’t expect that we want to grow the ecosystem,” said Hodges. “I think we want to get to know those (existing) partners better and really understand those that want to get to know us and invest deeply in us as the future of their business.”

She added: “To invest more in performance and value across our programs is probably the top priority right now, really doubling down on enablement, particularly around technical and services enablement.”

In recent years, Ivanti has made a number of key acquisitions, most recently the 2021 takeovers of Cherwell Software, provider of enterprise service management solutions, and RiskSense, a pioneer in risk-based vulnerability management and prioritization.

“I think we’ve done a great job with all of the acquisitions, pulling together our sales and pre-sales enablement, teaching and certification, but the rest of that journey needs to be done,” said Hodges.

Today, the 3,100-employee Ivanti’s major strength remains its information technology service management (ITSM) business, but the company has recently been expanding into security and other fields. It has about 38,000 customers worldwide.

“We’re the only company in the market that combine unified endpoint management, enterprise service management and cybersecurity in a sync,” said Hodges.

Sarah Oasen, CEO of Empower Solutions, a Reston, Va.-based VAR and an Ivanti partner, said she doesn’t know Hodges.

But she said any partner improvements at Ivanti will make an already strong program even stronger.

“They give you a lot of time and attention,” she said of Ivanti’s relationship with her firm. “It doesn’t matter if you’re big or small, they work closely with you. It’s been so refreshing.”

She said the firm’s biggest strength is its marketing-assistance program, which she described as “concise, clear and actionable.”

In a press release, Dennis Kozak, chief operating officer at Ivanti, said he’s “thrilled” Hodges and Beuchert have joined Ivanti.

“Their addition to our team will further enable Ivanti to focus our efforts in the field, maximize our partnerships, and provide our customers with superior support. They both bring deep experience in leading world-class channel operations and have a proven ability to execute.”

Backed by Clearlake Capital Group, Ivanti was formed in 2017 via the merger of LANDesk and Heat Software.  

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