In the cloud era, there are still many partners across the world still learning how to adapt their businesses to deal with new subscription models.
The first issue that hits the partners is the change in economics: partners have to learn how to sell cloud-based technologies and services and make money out of subscription-based models.
Mobility security vendor MobileIron has just embarked on a 'zero trust zero sign on' journey and has been working with local partners that want to embark on this with them.
"The way we think about that is, as we shift our business into the zero trust, zero sign on framework, 'Are they still the right partners?' And the answer is yes, but they're finding they have to adapt their businesses as well," Mobile Iron president and CEO Simon Biddiscombe told ARN.
"For most of our partners, for example, who are used to selling on premise technologies, but who now have to learn how to sell cloud based technologies, the economics change, there's no giant upfront license fee, with an annual maintenance, there's a subscription agreement that gets renewed every year for the cloud services.
"And they have to think about how to do their businesses differently, recognise their economics have changed and recognise their relationship with their customers is going to evolve."
Biddiscombe explained that MobileIron partners globally are learning how to deal with two things: cloud and subscription business. He believes the vendors solutions, specifically the ones partners can take it to market, will help the channel to get to a good place in the subscription-based opportunities.
"We're going to make it easier for you [partner] to get to the place you're going to go. I think we'll lose some partners along the way, smaller ones who don't know how to adapt, I think we're going to pick some up who recognise the criticality of our solutions as you move forward in a zero trust zero sign on world," Biddiscombe told ARN.
In July, MobileIron announced its zero sign-on technology for secure and passwordless authentication to enterprise cloud services from desktops.
With the solution, users can log into software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, such as Office 365 and Salesforce, from any laptop or desktop using their secured iPhone as their identity – eliminating the need for passwords
Globally, MobileIron counts on Volkswagen, Ford, GE and PricewaterhouseCoopers as some of its customers.
The vendor offers partners – approximately 50 active in Australia – an "extensive" enablement program, which is the same training MobilIron employees go through, it is all online and free of charge.
Biddiscombe told ARN that 90 per cent of the company's revenue comes from partners and it wants to make sure they are successful.
"We will never have the reach necessary, nor, frankly, want to have the reach necessary to cover as many customers as the 18,000 we've sold our technology to over the life of the company," he said.
"Partners are an important part of how we think about the future of the business and making sure they're enabled and making sure they're incentivised with the right registration programs and spirits, and so on to drive our activity is critical."
"We're very partner friendly company, as a whole, much more partner friendly than our biggest competitors who do a terrible job taking care of their channel."
However launching a new product that demands a change in the partner's attitude towards how they sell products might result in some partners not moving forward with MobileIron.
The vendor will continue to support its existing solutions as many partners, base don the size of their customer will never need to move on to the new solutions.
"It's going to be perfectly acceptable to continue to sell endpoint management and security as opposed to zero trust and zero sign on and so on. So they'll be a place for those partners. It just won't be as significant as it is for those who are going through the transition with their customers, and with us as well," Biddiscombe added.
MobileIron employs 16 staff across in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. Canberra has been the latest addition as the company experienced growth in Government business and said it will invest "more aggressively" in Canberra.The vendor counts on Arrow ECS as the sole distributor for both Australia and New Zealand.