The 5 Biggest Opportunities For Aruba Channel Partners In 2019

Aruba On The Record

Aruba Networks wants to make one thing clear: it is both a networking and security-focused company. The Santa Clara-based firm has spent years on the front line of wireless innovation, today with its new line of WiFi 6-capable access points and its flagship ClearPass offering, which provides much-needed visibility into a businesses' network and connected endpoints.

At Aruba Atmosphere 2019, CRN sat down with the company's leaders, including Aruba's founder Keerti Melkote, and asked what partners can expect from Aruba this year. From incorporating more emerging technologies, such as AI, to supporting IoT and a simplified configuration process, here's what partners should be on the lookout for and where the opportunities lie for the channel, according to Aruba executives and channel leaders.

Keerti Melkote, Aruba Founder, SVP and General Manager

Aruba is a full stack networking and security player with a full architectural vision for the enterprise, and [solution providers] can be broad and deep with us in terms of partnering and building their practices. We want to go deeper with the partners we have, especially those that have invested in us and have earned competencies with us, but also, we do want more partners selling in the midmarket and enterprise space.

Also, partners [should know] that the culture of Aruba is still the culture that it's always been, that they can trust us to continue to innovate and grow in the market with them and continue to make sure the program economics are really good so partners can continue to grow their businesses.

Partha Narasimhan, CTO

The focus on customer experience and the focus on automation; how can I simplify what it takes to deploy infrastructure, to configure it and to troubleshoot it? When it comes to configuration, we believe that it's messier than it needs to be. Simplifying the configuration that customers go through -- that's one of the things partners can expect going forward.

Also, the whole focus on deploying AI and machine learning techniques to get a handle on when use cases shift… how long does it take until we recognize and act upon that shift. How do we give [partners] visibility into not just the problems that exist, but in terms of how they can respond. Those are tools we are going to keep delivering so partners can absolutely leverage those and include them as part of the service they offer customers.

Donna Grothjan, VP of Worldwide Channels

Consistency is one of the most important things partners look for, and I think we have been very consistent over the last three years since the [HP] acquisition occurred. We came out with a program as the foundation and we continue to enhance it based on where we think the market is going and based on technology and I think our partners can continue to expect us to embrace them even more from a selling perspective. We have now developed a lot of enablement capability inside of our organization that we are taking out to partners. We had a sales leadership meeting in January and all of the content that we delivered to our own sales reps, we are delivering to partners. Those are inflection points for us where we continue to ask; 'What do we think our partners need and how are we building it?' Those things come with huge investment. It's not just a steady state for us. We have to continue to invest and enablement is a prime example this year because we want to make sure our partners are hearing things the same way and they are capable of delivering in the same ways as our reps so everyone is speaking the same language.

Jim Harold, VP of North American Channels

It's really about the growth opportunity and not only just the growth with our core products, but now adding TAM (total addressable market) in the with extension of solutions; it’s a big opportunity. That is where we are pushing partners to get onboard, get enabled and get the economics down to get into the new, expanding markets. What partners can expect is continued innovation.

Michael Tennefoss, VP of Strategic Partnerships

What I want partners to know is if they haven't looked at Aruba for a while, they need to come back and look at the latest offerings we have because, for example, the changes we have made in our access points over the last few years have transformed them into IoT platforms where we can gather data from many different sources, from asset tracking, all the way to gunshot detection, and pull that information through the access points to the applications that can consume them. So, if they haven't taken a look at our IoT solutions, they are transformed, both from the infrastructure point of view, but also all the new technology partners we have onboarded that make solutions that tie into [Aruba solutions] that [partners] can add to their portfolios of products they can sell.