Web security vendor, Clearswift, will look to introduce more services certifications and online tools to better support its expanding channel network.
Six months on from the launch of its Catalyst partner program, Clearswift vice-president of worldwide channels, Miles Rippon, said it was pleased with the first stage rollout.
The executive was in Sydney earlier this month to meet channel partners and its new distributor, Firewall Systems, who came on-board in July.
The vendor has gone from 15 partners in Australia to 35 and is actively looking to recruit more.
Its two-tier global channel model, which was launched in April, is Clearswift’s first comprehensive attempt to develop an indirect partner community. Partners are divided into four categories by levels of ability: Entry-level; Registered partner; Sales Associate; and Solution Provider.
“In some markets, 70 per cent of business was done directly and partners were a necessary evil, while in Germany it was very structured and discipline and we’d be working with partners since day one. You could see they were benefitting from the relationships they had,” Rippon said.
While some aspects of the channel program were influenced by the global economic climate, such as providing deal registration and front-end rebates, Rippon insisted partners had become increasingly important independently of market conditions.
“Channel gives us sustainability for growth, efficiencies in our business, and once established, a great mechanism to rollout new technology. Customers get better support and local context around the solution they are buying from their partner,” he said.
Clearswift was putting an emphasis on certifications and ensuring partners met certain rules of engagement, Rippon said. Partners were given 90 days to abide by the new Catalyst Program and ensure their skill sets were in order to get the higher partner discounts.
“We have made a couple of large steps to prove we are a 100 per cent channel company,” Rippon added. “We had six or so direct end-user customers, some quite big…when it came to renewal with those guys, we introduced a partner. That shows we are putting our money where our mouth is.”
The next step for Clearswift is to deliver more services certifications to partners, Rippon said. It is also investing in back-end processes to improve deal registration, customer annuity opportunities and hosted online learning offerings.
“We want to enable partners to write policies for their customers, do workshops, health checks and migration capabilities from our legacy technology to our new, but also better technology along ours,” he said. “We want to have better skilled individuals, more mindshare and revenue for those partners.”