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Karl Soderlund On Palo Alto Networks' Channel DNA And Why The Company's CEO, President Are Not Trying To 'Force A Google Culture'

Soderlund dishes on new rebate opportunities for top partners, how CEO Nikesh Arora's time at Google informs his position on the channel, and whether customers will be allowed to purchase certain cloud or SaaS products directly from Palo Alto Networks.

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What other improvements can partners expect to see?

Number two, which is a handshake or complement to number one, is services. When we think of services, we think of a services lifecycle, whether it's assessment services on the front end, whether it's deployment services after the sale, or whether it's a full-blown suite of managed services. We're having a complete service offering kit that we're offering our partners to work with them on. We'll have the resources there, we'll have the access there, we'll have the reference architecture there. We the industry need these partners to deliver these best-in-class services to the industry to protect them and give them the best protection possible in the marketplace. And then number three, which is a little bit of an umbrella over number one and two, when you look at the operations side of it, how do we provide new systems, new processes, automation for our partner community to work with us? Because we're no longer just a single product company. We're multiple products, across multiple divisions, with a really elegant solution. But we still need to keep it simple for our partners, and need it to be really easy to work with. So we're being really critical on ourselves internally to say 'how can we make sure we're easy to work with internally within our partner community?' And they can continue to scale and grow with us.

What's the biggest thing you want partners to know given the changes that have taken place?

We're listening to them. We respect and hold their opinion in the highest regards, and we'll continue to be channel-centric moving forward. And the opportunity is bigger than it's ever been in the past for them. And that's a message I'm pretty consistent with. And when we sit down and talk, I don't feel like I'm selling as much as we're having good open dialogue about what we're seeing and how we can work better together. And it's a great space now. 

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