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Micro Focus Fuses Legacy HPE Software Channel Into New Partner Program

The new program marks the first time since Micro Focus's 2017 $8.8 billion spin-merger with HPE software that all partners will have access to the entire product portfolio and customer base.

Micro Focus has brought its own and the legacy HPE software channels together into a single partner program that's simple and focused on predictable profitability.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based software vendor said the new program will place the company's 4,500 channel partners into three tiers: authorized, gold and platinum. The program marks the first time since Micro Focus's 2017 $8.8 billion spin-merger with HPE software that all partners will have access to the entire product portfolio and customer base, said Mike O'Neill, president of worldwide indirect sales.

"We really want to make it easier to do business with Micro Focus," O'Neill told CRN exclusively.

[Related: Micro Focus Buys Cybersecurity Startup Interset For Analytics Expertise]

Micro Focus hopes the program will increase the share of business flowing through the channel from between 40 percent and 45 percent today to between 50 percent and 55 percent a year or two from now, O'Neill said. Solution providers will be Micro Focus's primary avenue to drive net new business going forward, according to O'Neill.

Some 87 percent of Micro Focus's partners will be at the authorized level, which only requires a formal agreement with the company and will provides front-end discounting as well as access to the company's partner portal and knowledge base.

The gold tier is home to 11 percent of Micro Focus partners, and requires they have two sales certifications and two technical certifications in a particular product group, according to O'Neill. Gold partners have access to a 20 percent rebate off standard pricing, an assigned partner manager, instructor-led training, and an MDF program, O'Neill said.

Just 2 percent of partners are beginning at the platinum level, which requires both the certifications necessary for becoming a gold partner as well as annual bookings of above $1 million. Platinum partners are eligible for a 25 percent rebate off standard pricing, as well as free access to Micro Focus events and joint go-to-market, sales and technical training.

Although gold and platinum solution providers make up just 13 percent of Micro Focus's partner base, they account for 50 percent of revenue, and the company hopes to double the number of gold and platinum partners it has in the year ahead.

Deal registration is mandatory for rebate payouts, and provides the first partner to bring in a deal with sourced benefits at 10 percent, the company said. Deal registration wasn't involved in either the legacy HPE or legacy Micro Focus programs to the degree that it needed to be, O'Neill said, but will serve as the genesis of how the company drives engagement and enables proactive approach selling going forward.

The legacy HPE interface wasn't intuitive for partners, O'Neill said, and over time, partners learned that they didn't have to register deals on a lot of occasions. But in the new program, O'Neill said deal registration will kick everything off. In addition, O'Neill said the new program offers more clarity around how SaaS offerings are registered are that rebates are paid out based on the maximum contract length.

Since both the legacy Micro Focus and HPE programs had three tiers, O'Neill said partners will primarily be grandfathered into their existing tier, with more re-leveling to take place in subsequent years. Many of the HPE software partners have grown up around a single product offering, and O'Neill said the new Micro Focus partner program will enable them to be exposed to a broader portfolio of products.

Novacoast CEO Paul Anderson said he's excited about the rollout of Micro Focus's new partner program and portal. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Micro Focus partner is No. 224 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500.

"[This] clearly evidences the significant technological and financial investment Micro Focus is making to supply partners with the accessibility, information and tools needed to deliver mutually beneficial business," Anderson said in a statement.

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