Montreal-based Accedian sold mainly direct and to service providers until their acquisition of a French company late last year. Now they can target the enterprise and midmarket, and will use a select channel to reach these new types of customers.
Network performance manager [NPM] and application performance management [APM] provider Accedian has launched the SkyLIGHT 4X Partner Program, their first-ever channel program.
This is Accedian’s first channel program because while the company has been in business since 2005, it is relatively new to the channel, at least in North America.
“Accedian began by selling very granular network monitoring services to service providers, through a business model that was primarily direct,” said Sergio Bea, Vice President, Global Enterprise and Channels, at Accedian. “We now have approximately 120 service provider partners. We provided business services and mobile backhaul in the beginning, and as we evolved, we migrated into the virtualized world.”
Accedian’s expansion from the service provider market into the enterprise space is much more recent.
“We saw IT transformation in the enterprise as a critical opportunity, and something that we could address if we complemented our traditional portfolio with something else,” Bea said. “We could do this by either building or buying, and we decided to buy a French company, Performance Vision, last December.”
Performance Vision made a joint NPM/APM solution, which complements Accedian’s SkyLIGHT VCX active monitoring platform. The Performance offering has since been rebranded as SkyLIGHT PVX.
“It offers great Layer 3-7 NPM, which complements our Layer 1-4 solution, and it is also agentless and non-intrusive,” Bea said.
“The acquisition opened up our entrance into the enterprise space, building out our enterprise focus, to add to the service provider market,” Bea explained. “We built an inside sales organization and began developing our first-ever partner program to support it.” Bea joined Accedian six months ago to take charge of this initiative. He has done this before at other companies in different parts of the networking space, holding a global channel chief role at Viavi for almost three years until late 2017, and a North American channel leader role at Ciena for four and a half years immediately before that. In both places, he designed new channel programs.
“The beauty of our solution is that it can be deployed appliance-based or fully software-based, and for channel partners, we are encouraging it to be sold as a service,” Bea said. “That makes it very well suited for MSPs. NPM specialists who are niche solution providers might want to resell the solution as well. Our competitors in this space tend to be mostly focused on one or the other of the NPM or APM sides of the market. We combine both things so have a wide-angle view from the network through to the application layer.”
In April, before the new program was completed, Accedian launched what they term their 4X SNAP Managed Service Methodology for MSPs, providing tools for a service offering explicitly designed for MSPs. The 4X SNAP methodology was designed out of the gate to appeal to a more select number of higher-value MSPs, not to sign up every MSP in sight.
“We will be selective about that because I don’t have the resources to onboard 1000 MSPs,” Bea said. ”The 4X SNAP methodology I think is unique, and can bring their NPM/APM service to life profitably within 30 days.”
The new channel program is guided by the same value-oriented philosophy.
“We will focus on developing deep, strong relationships with partners that we onboard,” Bea said. “This also can include two-tier MSP companies that support other MSPs, and we are talking with some of them to see if they are interested in this. This kind of solution used to be limited to the enterprise because of the expense, but virtual solution software has really lowered the barrier. Now midmarket companies can afford this as a service on a monthly basis, and they can be served by smaller MSPs.”
The 4X Partner Program consists of four engagement tracks: 4X Champion MSP Partners – for the MSPs; 4X Champion Partners; 4X Authorized Partners; and Referral Level. The 4X Champion MSP Partners have access to the SNAP 4X methodology.
The program includes the kinds of things that partners today expect as table stakes, including deal registration, MDF funding focused around lead generation, free training and certification, marketing tools, support and one free lab license. Bea said that the program’s philosophy, which emphasizes flexibility and ease of doing business, will be what really appeals to the channel, however.
“We have introduced a concept for the partner to grow/invest at their own pace, rather than checking boxes and investment levels,” he stated. “I’ve done that before, and have learned from the two other programs I launched. I’ve simplified the engagement level a lot. The minute you join, you get a set of benefits. The more you invest, including getting training credits, or sitting down and doing business planning with us, you get more benefits. So partners can advance at their own pace. We’ve put very aggressive margins in, and made sure partners make solid margins from the solutions, and can smoothly develop a healthy business. We think that will grab their attention.”
While Accedian is a Canadian-based company, the vast majority of their business is done outside of Canada.
“The service provider provider market is more the U.S. and Europe, and on the enterprise side, because Performance Vision was French, EMEA is the most significant part of that business,” Bea said. “The biggest market for the enterprise business is in North America though, and we are going after that in a big way. We will be using the partner program to recruit partners globally, as well as continue to leverage the existing Performance Vision partners in Europe.”