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Druva Pushes Partners To Embrace Cloud As Business Focus With New Channel Program

Druva's new Compass channel program, so-called because it is aimed at helping channel partners on their journey to digital transformation, gives partners the tools and information to build predictable business models around monthly recurring revenue.

Cloud-focused data protection and data management vendor Druva this week launched a new channel program targeting solution providers looking to better use the cloud to help modernize their business with a more revenue-focused business push.

The new Druva Compass program is aimed at helping partners become part of the overall disruption in the data protection and data management market, said Timm Hoyt, vice president of global partner sales and alliances for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based vendor.

"We want to help partners with their SaaS business, both with our offering and on the extra technologies they can bring to customers at the same time," Hoyt told CRN. "We want to build a strong profitability model that is differentiated from the capex and other models out there."

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Druva's offerings are unique in their cloud-native nature, Hoyt said.

"There are companies out there with gateways to the cloud," he said. "And there are companies like Druva that are cloud-native. In our experience, many traditional resellers are looking at how to move from on-prem to the cloud."

Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh told CRN that the movement of channel partners to a SaaS model, including around data protection, is still in the early stages.

"Most partners are still looking at how to build a long-term SaaS business model," Singh said. "They need help moving forward."

Druva is looking to provide that help in three ways, Hoyt said.

First, the company is launching a self-service accreditation program as part of Druva Compass to provide channel partner account managers with help in developing better business accounts, he said.

"This includes the core technology, use cases, and help with developing the skills every reseller and MSP need to drive the business on their own," he said.

The second is turnkey marketing campaigns that let partners run their own campaigns on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis, and can be aimed at existing customers or new logos, he said.

The third is to help partners build predictable models, including helping them understand the math behind recurring revenue and margins and help them take advantage of a product that sees some customers increasing usage by up to 130 percent a year, Hoyt said.

"We want to help partners expand," he said. "For example, a customer can start with Office 265, but may want to take the Druva technology to other applications including their file structures or virtualized infrastructures."

Druva has proven to be a solid, channel-friendly vendor partner, said Eduardo Figueredo, practice lead for data protection at RoundTower Technologies, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based solution provider which has worked with the vendor since early this year.

"Sometimes, with new relationships, manufacturers expect leads to flow to them," Figueredo told CRN. "Druva is not the same. They've been pushing leads to us, and we've closed some already. When a manufacturer brings leads in early, it gives us some early successes and makes it easier for us to grow."

Formalizing a channel program around certification programs is an important move, Figueredo said.

"When we decide to enter a developmental relationship with a vendor, we pour resources into the relationship depending on partner support," he said. "We want to move up the ladder with the vendor. But we don't want it too easy."

Learning new ways to improve monthly recurring revenue, or MRR, is key to building long-term partnerships with vendors and clients, Figueredo said.

"In our financing department, MRR is gold," he said. "It's the financing folks' favorite kind of revenue. With it, we stat the year knowing what's already coming in. So there's no big revenue up-front, but it's predictable. Druva has a subscription-only model with no up-front capital expenses for customers. This not only benefits us with steady, predictable revenue, but is also good for customers who are looking for new data protection infrastructure and don't want to bring in an up-front expense. Those customers don't get buyers remorse because they know they are paying by the month, and that they can change easily if they aren't happy."

Druva is currently looking to recruit new channel partners, particularly born-in-the-cloud partners who have a deep understanding of the cloud and traditional partners looking for a way to modernize their capabilities before they get disrupted by the cloud, Hoyt said.

"We can help them modernize their offerings and look at what they need to thrive as a services provider," he said.

Druva is still not yet a profitable company because it has been focused on growing the business, Singh said. The company last week unveiled a new $130-million round of funding with a focus on growth.

"We're still funding our growth," he said. "We're not a capex business, so we're not burning a lot of cash. We're still focused on high growth, and we have a three-year horizon for looking at profitability."

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