Pulse Secure inherits many partners from Juniper, but not enough productive ones, and is looking to Ingram Micro to expand that quality pool.
Pulse Secure, which recently was spun out of Juniper Networks, has announced its first distribution agreement in North America, with Ingram Micro.
Pulse Secure started out as Junos Pulse, a division of Juniper, before activist shareholder demands that Juniper concentrate on its core business forced it to be divested. It became a separate company last October, when private equity firm Siris Capital purchased it for $USD 250 million.
Pulse Secure makes VPN, network access control and mobile security products for the mobility market. While their focus is on the enterprise and service provider markets, they do have offerings for businesses smaller than that.
Shortly after the spinoff, they acquired an enterprise mobile management startup, MobileSpaces.
“MobileSpaces allows you to manage enterprise information on the device, but leaves the personal information alone, which makes it ideal for BYOD,” said Aaron Moroson, Pulse Secure’s Director of Worldwide Distribution Channels. “Juniper had been talking with them about earlier about an OEM agreement.” While all Pulse Secure’s original solutions were available right after the acquisition, MobileSpaces was added to the price list about two months ago.
Pulse Secure plays in a crowded space with numerous competitors, including Cisco and Citrix on the VPN side and AirWatch and MobileIron in enterprise mobility management, but Moroson thinks the company is well positioned, particularly since it will have the advantage of nimbleness as a small firm, while still being backed by deep capital pockets.
“We do have some technical differentiation over the market,” he said. “We offer end-to-end containerization with no manipulation to the apps, and the platform doesn’t matter – SaaS, private cloud, or cloud. We also have a management solution that VPN competitors don’t have, and in Q3 will be bringing out a control board that allows the ability to manage all devices out there.”
Moroson also stressed that while their competition has been very aggressive in spreading FUD around their divestiture from Juniper, the company is well backed, and committed.
“The channel should know that Pulse Secure is investing in our partners, and our product,” he said. “We are growing and undoubtably here to stay.”
Because they are a spinoff rather than a true startup, Pulse Secure begins with some powerful advantages, like 20,000 customers and 1800 worldwide partners, including 60 distributors globally they inherited from Juniper. Many of the partners aren’t productive however, and what Moroson wants is to expand the number of productive partners, something he believes Ingram Micro is well placed to do.
“Some of our partners do very little, and we are considerably under the 20-80 rule in that less than 20 per cent of our partners do 80 per cent of our sales,” he said. “We want to expand the number of partners who can do more business for us, and we want to focus on that group to start. It’s not just about getting certifications, but about showing capabilities. Distribution can help us educate and expand that productive partner base.”
Moroson, who had been with Ingram Micro himself before moving to Juniper in a distribution capacity, joined Pulse Secure in mid-November and started negotiations with multiple distributors, signing with Ingram in February.
“Ingram gets tagged with the broadline label, but their teams, including security teams, are very hands on and focused on the solutions,” he said. “They greatly amplify our small sales force, and they have a huge customer base we can tap into. Them showing interest in a smaller company like us also gives us credibility.”
While Ingram Micro is Pulse Secure’s first North American distributor, it is not an exclusive deal, although Moroson said they will have fewer distributors than Juniper. His preference would be to add one boutique distributor for this market.
“Smaller, boutique distributors can spend more time with each client and be more aggressive, so in each country, it makes sense to have one broadliner and one boutique distributor,” Moroson said.
Moroson also emphasized that Pulse Secure’s ideal go-to-market model is 100 per cent channel, unlike Juniper’s.
“That is our intent, to be entirely channel,” he said. “Juniper has some direct business, but we want to be purely channel through distribution. There may be a case where someone insists on buying direct, but we don’t want to do any of that.”