SonicWall Revolutionizes Pricing For MSSPs With Pay-As-You-Go Model

Partners that switch from buying an annual license to pay-as-you-go pricing for SonicWall’s software products can expect a cost savings of 20 percent, said global channel chief HoJin Kim.

SonicWall plans to make it cheaper, easier and more lucrative for MSSPs to purchase the company’s security software by rolling out flexible monthly pricing.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based platform security vendor said it plans to introduce pay-as-you-go pricing around its Capture Client endpoint protection platform and Cloud App Security tool in its fiscal first quarter of 2020, which ends April 30. Partners that switch from buying an annual license to pay-as-you-go pricing can expect a cost savings of 20 percent, said HoJin Kim, vice president of worldwide channels.

“Customers want to consume this way, and we need to make sure that the technology not only works for our customers, but also that the business model works for our channel,” Kim told CRN. “It’s a really important step for us because there’s a recognition that the customer consumption models are changing.”

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[Related: SonicWall To Revamp Partner, MSSP Programs To Push Value Creation]

The flexible monthly pricing is currently in beta, and is part of all-out MSSP push for SonicWall that includes the introduction of the My Workspace single-portal customer management dashboard that’s intended to simplify the experience for partners of managing and operating across different customer environments.

“In our business as an MSP, it’s almost paramount to have a multi-tenant dashboard,” said Joe Moore, CTO and Partner at Sterling Heights, Mich.-based Center for Computer Resources. “This is pretty huge.”

Pricing for the flexible monthly billing option will be less than $2 per user per month in some situations, though Kim said it’ll vary based on the product. Partners looking to participate in the pay-as-you-go program once it reaches general availability will be required to have a certain number of seats under management and take on the responsibilities around Level 1 and Level 2 help desk support, Kim said.

The flexible pricing should help alleviate the cashflow issues many MSSPs had experienced around purchasing annual licenses from SonicWall, Kim said, where partners had to take on a large upfront expense but were only getting paid back gradually since end users were typically billed on a monthly basis. Partners who prefer annual licenses will still be able to purchase those going forward, Kim said.

In addition to the 20 percent cost savings, Kim said flexible billing will also make it easier for solution providers to wrap patching, compliance, and governance services around the SonicWall’s endpoint protection software and include it on a single bill.

During the beta program, Kim said SonicWall wants to ensure that the transactional elements of the flexible pricing model are working smoothly and ensure that the partner program is properly aligned with the new procurement motion. SonicWall therefore plans to have post-sales training requirements for participating partners to ensure they’re able to provide an outstanding customer experience, he said.

Specifically, Kim said SonicWall wants to ensure that MSSPs providing their own Level 1 and Level 2 support know how to determine and remediate problems, operate closed-loop help desk systems, track tickets to both the vendor and customer, and hook between the vendor and solution provider to look at diagnostics.

Although SonicWall’s pay-as-you-go pricing will initially start with Capture Client and Cloud App Security, Kim said the flexible pricing will be available for all the company’s virtual and software-based assets by the end of 2020. SonicWall will retain contractual arrangements for its hardware products given the cost associated with on-premise deployment of these tools, Kim said.

in the coming months, Kim said SonicWall plans to examine both compensation matters and rules of engagement tied to the flexible pricing program. Specifically, Kim said the sales compensation for customer-facing reps should be equivalent regardless of whether partners procure software through an annual license or through the pay-as-you-go model.

And externally, Kim said SonicWall needs to have a coordinated message around the new pricing model both in terms of communications strategy as well as training for partners and other stakeholders.

“The channel as I have seen it started as a resale channel representing other vendor’s products. Now, it has moved to a services-led model, which is where we are getting some critical mass now,” Kim said. “This is the fundamental shift we have been waiting for in the channel for the last 15 years.”