ControlUp CEO: 5 Reasons Why Partners Need To Jump On Board
With ControlUp transforming into a channel-led business, CEO Jed Ayres explains five reasons—from margins to market opportunities—on why partners need to work with the company today.
(From L-R) CRN Executive Editor Jennifer Follett, ControlUp CEO Jed Ayres, CRN Editor News Steven Burke
ControlUp’s new CEO Jed Ayres plans to transform his digital employee experience software company into a channel-led powerhouse, offering up to 30 percent margins with a product that can be set up in ten minutes without any infrastructure needed.
“Part of my charter as a new leader is to really scale the company with the channel and introduce this technology to them,” said Ayres during his keynote at the 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference. “If you look at the other four big competitors in this space, none of them have great channel instinct or IQ.”
ControlUp is a rising player in the digital employee management, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and data analytics space. The San Jose, Calif.-based company helps customers resolve desktop issues faster, prevent the need for tickets, and reduce spending by delivering its Digital Employee Experience Management Fabric built for IT teams struggling with troubleshooting complex workspaces, support tickets and flat budgets.
ControlUp’s New CEO Jed Ayres
In August, ControlUp hired former IGEL CEO Jed Ayres as its new leader.
Ayres was critical in transforming IGEL from a thin client hardware maker into a secure endpoint software star, driving software billings from zero to nearly $100 million during his seven-year tenure at IGEL. He has more than 20 years of top-notch executive experience along with a wide range of industry knowledge across workspace management, virtualization and mobility.
He is bullish about ControlUp’s ability to solve business problems via the company’s data capabilities, solutions in the new hybrid work era, and a channel charge unlike ever before.
“I would say the biggest differentiator is that we figured out how to actually pull [customer] data and collected it every three seconds,” said Ayres. “There’s a lot of ROI opportunities in terms of getting to a single pane of glass in this space.”
Taken from his keynote, here are the five reasons why Ayres says solution providers of all shapes and sizes need to partner with ControlUp immediately.
ControlUp Will Become A Channel-Led Company; Enhanced Channel Program On The Way
Throughout its lifetime, the company has been very product led. As a result, it’s very much a direct selling motion. It’s had explosive growth especially through COVID.
So part of my charter as a new leader is to really scale the company with the channel and introduce this technology to them. If you look at the other four big competitors in this space, none of them have great channel instinct or IQ. So it’s really an exciting opportunity to introduce the channel to this.
I don’t have an aspiration to go hire 50 sales reps. I want to do it through the channel. That’s been my background. It’s part of how we succeeded at IGEL [which] was 100 percent channel. I also worked at AppSense where we really turned the company around through the channel. So hope to do it again.
I’m leaving here tomorrow morning and going to Florida to do a partner advisory board where we have 15 channel partners and 30 people in a room with the idea of really letting them help us shape the channel program.
Just like we did at IGEL, we’ll be building something that checks all the CRN 5-Star Channel Program boxes with the help of our channel partners. … There’s some work to do in terms of building a channel-led, channel-first culture from the very top of the organization.
Up To 30 Percent Margins For Partners
I personally have an ethos that says, ‘If a partner is going to invest in us, we’re going to invest equally in them. If you’re going to bring us into deals, we are going to protect you all the way to the end.’ You know, leave the dance with who brought you there.
We’re shooting for 25 percent to 30 percent margin for [partners].
And of course, we’re also incenting our sales organization, who today has got a compensation-neutral [sales model]. In order to break that direct product-led sales motion, you have to disrupt the sales organization. So this is a fun conversation to have at the board level where you’re explaining to them, ‘Why would you do this?’
The results will speak for themselves. Hopefully [next year], we’ll be talking about the continued explosive growth of the company as a result of leaning into the channel.
Partners Are Granted Use Of ControlUp Themselves
If you sign up to become a ControlUp partner, we’re going to enable all of you with this tool, which is just a special window into your customers’ environments.
The amazing thing is it’s agent driven. Literally, you can stand it up in 10 minutes without any infrastructure. That is a differentiator in terms of just the speed at which you can set this up and how quickly people can get an ROI on the product. It’s almost scary.
One of the differentiators is that it’s really a simple product to download and go. Unlike our competitors, you can’t really go to their website and download it. We give away to all our solution providers the full product set.
As a marketer, we’re using the technology in our digital stack to actually sell the product. So once this product goes in, we can actually see everything they have in their environment. Then that contextual marketing that we’re able to deliver back to the customer—it’s fascinating.
We can actually set the propensity to purchase based on how much time they’re spending inside the console, how many people are using it, and what kind of problems that we’re solving. After the last eight years, we have a very accurate picture of like, ‘Okay, this customer is probably very close to buying, based on all these dots lining up.’
Huge Work From Home DaaS Opportunity For Partners
My personal belief is that there’s hundreds of millions of people that work from home in some capacity.
Because of COVID, we’ve enabled pretty much anybody to be able to work from home. So I think that’s the practice that hopefully most people have already leaned into. But adding a tool like ControlUp really just adds a layer of value on top of what most every organization is bracing for.
We plan to make a big investment in the product around managed services, making the product more accessible to a multi-tenant MSP model.
In September Gartner came out with a DaaS Magic Quadrant. It was a kind of breakthrough moment. In the report, you’ll see in the very first sentence it talks about the DaaS market today is 20 percent MSP-assembled. They predict by 2026, it’ll be 80 percent.
This is a big opportunity in this space of end-user compute, the 100 million seats of VDI that is going to be refactored into a DaaS model.
How ControlUp Differentiates Itself From The Competition
It’s an interesting space because there’s such a wide variety of things that we solve with the data that we’re collecting. I would say the biggest differentiator is that we figured out how to actually pull this data and collect it every three seconds.
So a lot of these competitors, they’re looking at it in different snapshots.
We’re collecting a huge amount of data. We’re also able to do it for remote workers. We’re able to do it with unified communications across platforms. We’re able to do it for virtual and physical, Mac, Windows, Linux.
So it’s like a really large set of conditions that we’re collecting all this information. We’re able to then automate and remediate a lot of the issues that we see from that data.