CommVault Signs With Arrow, Plans New Channel Program

The Oceanport, N.J.-based backup and recovery software vendor this week also plans to introduce a new channel program that focuses more on solution provider investment and less on revenue.

CommVault in the past has worked directly with solution providers, but it will now move those partners to work with Arrow, said Steve Matheson, vice president of channel sales at CommVault.

"We've had some very, very strong sales growth," Matheson said. "But we noticed that this year and going forward, to continue our growth we need to get our products in front of more customers."

CommVault's move to embrace distribution and expand its partner base through Arrow comes at a time when CommVault solution providers have complained about the vendor taking deals direct.

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Brian McCarthy, president and owner of Sencilo Solutions, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based solution provider, said he hopes to see CommVault shore up its channel commitments.

"One reason we haven't done a lot with CommVault is its lack of channel-friendliness," McCarthy said. "They leave it to the discretion of their sales reps whether to take a deal direct or not."

Part of the reason for rolling out a formal channel program is to address the way CommVault's reps interact with the channel, according to Matheson.

"We want it to be more measurable," he said. "We want it written down clearly how they interact. We've tightened the interaction up considerably. CommVault, at the senior level of the company, has recognized the need to do a better job of working with the channel. And that they need to do more with the channel."

Working with Arrow will enable solution providers to take better advantage of CommVault's products and programs, Matheson added. "They can help with financing, training and access to a larger number of resellers," he said. "Also, they have seven hardware business units where solutions are being created for the market."

Sencilo's McCarthy said he's a big fan of working with distributors because they give solution providers more access to creative financing. "I can do factoring with Arrow, where they look at the credit of my customer and may carry the paper for a big deal," he said. "And they'll take my credit card."

However, McCarthy added he's disappointed that CommVault has signed Arrow as its exclusive distributor in North America. "I want to be able to choose between Avnet and Arrow," he said.

Lance Sedlak, general manager of the software group at Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, said the distributor will gain some new resellers from the partnership, though there is some customer overlap.

"They have a well-established channel but have not previously engaged distribution," Sedlak said. "This is a very important move for them as they continue to grow their business. As we continue to grow ours, we're going to function as a channel management company to help give them reach and scale and grow their existing business."

As part of the agreement, Arrow will work with CommVault on training, order management, financing programs, financial services, marketing support and business development. "We will be working closely with them to deliver some of those services, but Arrow will be responsible for them," Sedlak said.

CommVault has aligned many of its products with several storage vendors already working with Arrow, including Hewlett-Packard, Network Appliance and Hitachi Data Systems, Sedlak said.

"They have over 100 resellers in North America, and they're transitioning all of those over to Arrow to manage," he said. "They're experiencing rapid growth as a company, and they really have made at the senior management level a commitment that they truly needed to engage a channel manager such as Arrow."

Under CommVault's new channel program, the company aims to reward partners on a point basis instead of on a revenue basis, Matheson said. The vendor will give rewards to solution providers based on certification, revenue and field initiatives such as end-user events, all with equal weight, he said.

"It's important that I reward resellers for their investment," Matheson said. "Revenue is important. But the change is, we reward them for their total contribution to CommVault."

Along with moving to a point-based plan, CommVault is better definining its training and certification program and is bringing out new services certifications, he added. Also new are incentives to displace competitive products, including additional margins, as well as new programs through Arrow such as lead generation, he said.