A10 Networks Channel Chief Talks Cloud Offensive, 'Doubling Down' On Partner Enablement And New Channel Training

Betting Big On The Channel

A10 Networks is investing heavily in partner enablement in 2017 around a revamped product portfolio focused on increasing cloud opportunities for the channel, according to A10's channel chief Kirsten Young.

"We're very focused on bringing (application delivery controllers) into the cloud with security as a big part of the overall picture for the channel," said Young, vice president of worldwide channels, in an interview with CRN. "We're helping partners enhance their profitability here with A10 this year."

Young talks to CRN about her channel strategy, new online training for partners around its new controller, as well as A10's new hands-on lab for ADC, secure sockets layer (SSL) and cloud training.

How will the new ADC controller help drive partner profitability?

We're very focused on bringing ADC into the cloud with security as a big part of the overall picture for the channel. We're helping partners enhance their profitability here with A10 this year. We have a clear, differentiated portfolio. We are introducing some new online, on-demand cloud training for our partner's system engineers so they can learn how to set up trials and demos.

What new training is A10 is offering to partners?

It's around the new offerings. We're working closely with our Cloud Business Unit. The first area of focus is in the technical community within our partners to make sure they have the skills necessary to do the discovery, find the opportunities and learn early-on in the sales stages what's an opportunity and how to better engage with A10. Those are online, on-demand training.

A10's new controller supports cloud giants like Google, AWS and Azure. How important is that for partners?

When we talk about the enablement, one of the key examples is with the technology landscape shifting with things like AWS and new technologies coming in – which some partners might not be as familiar with – the SaaS option … allows channel partners to add additional revenue streams which might be shifting from their traditional on-prem business to the cloud. They can basically talk to the same customers they've had and add some additional value and sell different services and products which most of the traditional vendors don’t offer.

What else is A10 doing on the partner-enablement front?

We're focused on our partner community around all our offerings, so we are offering a new series of technical workshops. These are going to be face-to-face training that are instructor-led with hands-on labs that have been created for our partners to really get their hands on the products and learn more deeply all the capabilities and offerings.

The first focus around those workshops is going to be ADC and our SSLi [products]. Then we'll be adding cloud to that.

Where is A10 investing in the channel in 2017?

We've really been focused on our 'select partners' within our program. We have partners in each geography we're doubling-down on. We're focusing our energy on enablement and sales engagement with those partners.

One of our largest investments in our channel programs has been around enablement … Our focus with these select partners is all about improving profitability and increasing the amount of recurring revenue with them.

Who are these 'select partners'?

Select partners aren't necessarily the highest tier [in our Partner Program]. It could also be a new partner coming into A10 where we see immediate opportunity to work together. It is partners like World Wide Technology and some of our other large partnerships.

Have you seen any uptick in the number of solution providers joining A10?

Yes. Because clearly we've added a lot to our portfolio, and with that, we're attracting a lot of new partners especially in security. We ended 2016 with a 10 percent increase in partners over 2015. We're spending a lot of time on helping them early on to hit the ground running.

Why should partners be pumped about A10 in 2017?

Our differentiated portfolio. That's also why we are attracting so many new and successful partners to A10. We're a channel company at the core, so we know what it takes to work with our partners hand-in-hand in all steps of the sales process. [We] make sure they've got protection on opportunity, assistance in their pre-sales engagement [and that] they have the right tools to manage through the sales process and get the A10 help they need to close business together.