5 New Riverbed Channel Incentives And Initiatives Revealed At Partner Summit

Revamping The Channel

Riverbed Technology is revamping its channel strategy to better enable solution providers to offer more professional services through new programs, increased incentives and training.

At Riverbed's second annual Partner Summit 2016 on Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz., the application performance vendor unveiled a new Solution & Services Program, five additional rebate points in its Partner Program and a new track tailored for managed service providers.

"We are very aggressively working with the channel to get them more involved with services around Riverbed, because it's a critical component of our partners' profitability," said Karl Meulema, Riverbed senior vice president, Global Channels, in an interview with CRN. "We're doubling down on our investment in our partners."

Here are five channel initiatives unveiled by Riverbed on Tuesday that solution providers need to know.

New Solution & Services Program

San Francisco-based Riverbed says it's investing this year in the channel to help partners expand across three areas: building an embedded solution and services program; driving engagement; and accelerating recurring revenue in smaller and enterprise midmarkets.

The brand new Solution & Services program is aimed at enabling partners to sell their own services and solutions along with Riverbed's.

"The current Partner Program was really centered around, 'We deliver you a box. You sell that box to your customer and you get a certain amount of margin from it,' " said Meulema. "We believe partners should sell their own solutions. Those solutions are much broader than just Riverbed, but Riverbed should be a very important component of that entire solution."

He said the new program allows partners to focus on the "total solution" rather than on pieces of the solution.

Increased Incentives By 5 Points

Riverbed is ramping up its Partner Program incentives by handing out an additional five points on discounts to solution providers. Three out of the five points will go toward direct discounts, while two points will go toward a business investment fund.

"The fund will be specific for that specific partner, and we're looking at that partner to use that fund to enhance the existing embedded solution or to build out new embedded solutions," said Meulema. "It's really aimed at further building out and creating funding for enhancing the embedded type of business with that partner."

Authorized Consulting Partner

Riverbed is launching an Authorized Consulting Partner program that trains partners with the tools and methodologies they need to confidently deliver professional services, said Meulema.

"We have things like a help desk to help give partners the right tools and knowledge to back them up so they can build out a professional services business around Riverbed," said Meulema.

Riverbed is also supporting distributors to build out a professional service in the program.

"We see that not all partners are big enough to justify building out a practice around Riverbed, but we also see distributors who deal with a lot of partners who are big enough to build that out," said Meulema. "So between the distributor and the partner, together they can offer the full set of services necessary."

SD-WAN Ready For Takeoff

In January, Riverbed acquired privately held Ocedo, a provider of software-defined networking (SDN) and SD-WAN solutions. The company says it's going to drive new services for partners with combined technologies set to launch in multiple stages starting in April, according to Meulema.

"The process where going through now is to get all that integration done over the next couple months," said Meulema. "There will be a series of launches that will happen throughout the year, starting in April, then one in August, and then one at end of year. Each of them will further enhance the capabilities and scalability of the solutions."

New Track Tailored For MSPs

Riverbed is adding new tracks to its Partner Program including Managed Services, which is tailored for managed service providers (MSPs). The vendor is simply making it easier for MSPs to reap the discounts and benefits of being a channel partner.

Meulema said many of Riverbed's programs are centered on a reseller model that doesn't always align with a channel partner's business model.

"If you are an MSP and that's all you do, then we don’t want to you jump through the hoops of becoming a reseller just to get the right discount. We want you to jump through other hoops that are specific for being an MSP," said Meulema. "The specializations and certifications we ask is more tailored to your business model as an MSP partner."

Additionally, Riverbed is launching new System Integrator and Outsourcer tracks.