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CRN Interview: Riverbed Channel Leader Bisnette On Simplifying Partner Program And The $4.6B New Business Opportunity

Riverbed channel chief Bridget Bisnette tells CRN that the company is looking to partners to help break Riverbed out of its traditional WAN optimization arena and into SD-WAN and networking and application performance.

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Blasting The Past

Bridget Bisnette considers traditional, competency-based channel partner programs "very 1990s." So, when she and her team set out to restructure Riverbed's program, they decided to make a clean break with the past.

The result is a significantly simplified program that focuses on winning new business and allowing partners to blaze their own trail as they help break Riverbed out of its traditional WAN optimization arena and into next-generation technologies like SD-WAN, networking performance and application performance.

With its focus on new technologies and as-a-service sales strategies, Riverbed's program is aimed at winning new business, and the opportunity there is huge. Bisnette, who came to Riverbed in May, estimates that Riverbed has a $4.6 billion new business opportunity in front of it with some 16,000 customers that haven't bought Riverbed before.

"We need partners to bring Riverbed into their customer base where they haven't brought us in before," Bisnette said. "A lot of times, we're viewed as a WAN optimization company, and that's the wheelhouse they sell us in. We need them to bring us in with SD-WAN. We need them to do that with both new logos and our install base. We're a channel company. Our route to market is partners. We can't be successful unless our partners are aligned with our sales teams."

What follows is an edited excerpt of Bisnette's conversation with CRN.

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