Fortinet flags local channel restructure post-US cull

Fortinet flags local channel restructure post-US cull

Appliance vendor sharpens its lance for leading rivals

Security vendor, Fortinet, has confirmed it will review its Australian channel in the wake of a distributor reshuffle and partner program revamp in the US.

Fortinet country manager, Charlie Cote, said the vendor would probably adjust its distributor lineup in the new year. Some distributors might be culled and new ones taken on.

"Nothing has been decided, but I can tell you that we will be looking at distribution," Cote said.

Fortinet in the US has just cut Westcon and Synnex -- as well as less known names Securematics and WAV -- from its books in favour of Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Alternative Technologies and FineTec. The unified threat management specialist aims to attract more elite VARs to take on rivals such as Cisco and Sonicwall.

Cote said Silver, Platinum and Gold partnerships would get a boost, as would dealer incentives. Fortinet would look at raising the bar in terms of encouraging volume per annum, he said.

According to Fortinet, US program enhancements include new FortiPartner deal registration requirements aimed at simplifying and making the process more flexible for partners. Also, a direct marketing program targets smaller businesses that prefer to buy via catalogue, Web or phone.

The security vendor has also ramped up staff numbers 120 per cent in the US, creating a new channel organisation with dedicated account and distribution management teams and increased field management and channel marketing resources, it said.

"We will probably implement that, but not to the level of America," Cote said.

Fortinet wanted to attract the best high-level partners to drive growth in 2008, he said.

"Now that I've stabilised the business [since coming on early 2007], we can get on growth and by the end of this year we will have 10 employees instead of the three we had at the start of the year," Cote said.

In the US, Ingram Micro and Tech Data will distribute Fortinet's entire line of network security solutions -- including FortiGate family of multi-threat security appliances, FortiMail secure messaging appliances, FortiManager centralised management appliances, FortiAnalyzer logging, reporting and analysis appliances and FortiClient endpoint security software.

Cote couldn't yet say whether Ingram Micro would do the same in Australia from January.

He said Fortinet was holding its first channel conference in Australia, in NSW's Hunter Valley, in December. Top global executives would attend, including Americas channel sales vice-president Mike Valentine, he said.

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