Leonard Iventosch, who was VP of Global Channels at Isilon Systems, and moved to EMC as VP Americas Channels when EMC acquired Isilon, has been named VP of Global Channels at Seattle-based real-time wire data analytics provider ExtraHop. While ExtraHop has had a channel, the company’s main emphasis has been direct and until last year the channel management was more reactive than proactive. Iventosch’s task is to make ExtraHop’s channel management even more systematic, and increase the channel’s portion of ExtraHop’s business.
ExtraHop has been defined as being in both the network performance monitoring and application performance monitoring spaces, but Iventosch said that they are unique in that they do both, and do them better than anyone else. Their appliance sits on the network and analyzes all L2–L7 communications, including full bidirectional transactional payloads, to provide full correlated, cross-tier visibility. While they have many enterprise customers, they also sell as far downmarket as SMBs, and they have a freemium product.
ExtraHop’s technology was key in bringing him to a company that works outside his storage background, Iventosch said.
“In the late 1990s, NetApp created the network attached storage category, and what ExtraHop is doing now is creating the category of network attached analytics, and that’s exciting,” Iventosch said. “Sujal Patel, the founder and CEO of Isilon, is not only on the board of ExtraHop but also an investor in the company. Some really smart people have invested in this technology, so it isn’t a blind leap of faith on my part.” Being able to work at home, in Seattle, was another plus, which keeps Iventosch off the 6 am Monday commuter flights.
Iventosch said that he had been talking with ExtraHop off and on for the last couple of years, but that he was waiting for the company to approach the stage where he believed he could help them.
“The opportunity around the channel here is exciting now, because we are at a stage where we want to drive more through the channel,” he said. “This wasn’t possible a couple of years ago because we needed to create demand through the market. The direct sales team has created a demand in the market, where it’s no longer a completely missionary sale. We have hundreds of enterprise customers, all of whom have relationships with one type of partner or another.”
Today, about 40 per cent of ExtraHop’s sales are through the channel, and while Iventosch obviously intends to increase that, he also wants to make the channel strategy more strategic.
“The goal in fiscal 2015 to get it to 50-60 per cent of sales, but it goes deeper than that,” he said. “Until 2014, ExtraHop channels were accidental channels, instead of being strategic. Partners were often friends with someone in inside sales, and we also got partners who weren’t involved in the transaction at all. In 2014, we started to bring on some of the larger national partners, and I want to build on what Tom Estep, who now runs North American channels [and had previously been VP of Global Sales] did. I particularly want to build on relationships with our technology partners, companies like Citrix, AppDynamics, and FireEye. This will make us more interesting to some of the large national partners who are typically not interested in vendors early on. We can show the value we bring and give them something new and profitable that they can sell.
“This is the first year where 20-30 per cent of the business was partner initiated, and I am hoping to get it as high as 40 per cent next year,” Iventosch added.
Iventoch said the company has between 45-50 partners now, about 40 of which are in North America.
“Most of these haven’t done a deal or have done just a deal or two,” he said. “About 15 have a strategic relationship with us, or one that is being developed. Our goal isn’t to get to a magic number, it’s to be more strategic. There are many great partners who we haven’t signed up, but who if they knew what we do, would be interested. We expect to sign likely a couple dozen new ones in the U.S. alone this year, while some we have now may fall by the wayside. We want to focus on growing ones that are interested in us, and finding ones that should be.”
Iventosch said that while ExtraHop now has a basic program, which he is assessing, he wants to enrichen it in terms of benefits. While many things are under evaluation, no firm decisions have been made.
“We are looking at a potential rebate program, and are looking at putting together an MDF program,” he said. “It would take until Q2 or the second half to roll them out. We will do some MDF for sure. Joint business planning, like with most small companies, has been fairly casual, and we want to do more there with our most significant partners, and help them take product to market through our verticals.” These include healthcare, financial services, and retail. ExtraHop also wants to increase awareness through PR.
Helping key partners build out professional services practices is a priority.
“We have a great technology, which provides an opportunity for strong margins and professional services, but that is typically hard for partners without great bench strength, Iventosch said. “It’s our responsibility to start building practices that partners can take to their customers and that’s a priority this year for us.”
There is no distribution in North America yet, although they do work with Arrow in Europe, but it’s something that is likely to come in time.
“My philosophy is that you bring distribution on when you have a burning product, for the financial leverage, logistical support, and other things they do,” Iventosch said. “We are likely a couple years away from that. The sooner we can move to distribution the better, in my opinion. I would rather hire distribution than hire a large channel management team to manage things direct.”