Increasing their MSP business is a major Arcserve priority, and the development of some kind of track for them within the company’s new channel program is one new enablement activity that is under active consideration.
Data protection provider Arcserve has announced the appointment of Sue Fossnes as North American Channel Director. She joined the company in late October. While she will be broadly responsible for managing and developing the company’s new Arcserve Accelerate channel program in all aspects, a top priority will be further extending programmatic capabilities towards managed service providers.
Fossnes spent over 11 years at Symantec in several progressively more senior channel management roles. She then worked for MDR [Managed Detection and Response] startup eSentire, and most recently at McAfee, both in senior channel roles. This is her first role at a data protection vendor, as opposed to a security-focused player.
“There’s not really a significant transition in the type of technology,” Fossnes said. “We are all in the business of protecting the customers’ data, whether from a network or a data protection perspective. The most similar company was actually eSentire, even though it was a startup, because both Arcserve and eSentire were really midmarket-focused. The other two companies covered everything, from the large enterprise to consumers. Arcserve lets me be more focused. I’m also really excited to be here, because Arcserve is so partner-centric.”
Arcserve has a very large channel by today’s standards, with about 7500 partners globally. The number in North America who are actively selling is a small fraction of that, however, at about 500. Improving that ratio was part of the motivation for a major redesign of the Arcserve channel program, which was announced in late August. The program was restructured to make the program more attractive to solution providers, who have ample choice of backup providers in the market. It did this by moving more dollars into providing higher margins, and by enhancing the partner engagement model to encourage complementary sales of Arcserve with other offerings, by providing cloud-native products with advanced support for private and public clouds, including Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure, to let partners drive cloud consumption business as well. While Scott Walker, Arcserve’s VP of Global Channels and Alliances, focuses on the strategic sales perspective, particularly around the alliances, Fossnes will be the primary go-to person around Arcserve Accelerate.
“My task is designing and developing the strategy and deciding how we grow and scale it,” Fossnes said. “The key is about driving scale. The new program has unbeatable margins and a great financial opportunity for partners. But where we want to go is to take it to the next level of maturation, introducing new tools and more resources. We can provide MSPs with great opportunities to work with us, but we need to make sure we get that message out to them. We need to make them aware that we are now focused on providing them with a really fantastic partner experience.”
Fossnes said that when she took the job she began a dialogue with partners to find out their initial reaction to the new program.
“I began talking to these internal stakeholders to get feedback on what was announced, and on what they might want to see to improve the value proposition,” she indicated. “There will be fine tuning of the program, and there will be additional investment, but there are no major components that still have to be baked. Partners can be confident in what we have already announced.”
More support will, however, be provided through the program to MSP partners.
“There is some more work to be done around the MSP community to achieve our growth targets there,” Fossnes said. “We absolutely recognize that MSPs are critical to how customers consume IT today. That shift has happened over time, but has accelerated over the last couple of years. Where I think the MSPs can particularly come into play is influencing SMB choice of a vendor. Most SMBs just don’t have the knowledge to sort through the many choices that are available.”
Fossnes said that while Arcserve presently has a lot of partner managed services capability, particularly as a lot of their on-prem solution providers expanded into the space, they want to expand the MSP business further.
“We definitely want to keep focused on the MSP market, because it’s an area where we want to grow our business,” she added. “MSPs can work with us and develop a service around us to showcase their value.”
It’s likely that this will involve development of some kind of a track within the program to further recognize and incentivize MSPs.
“Partners should expect something that’s not necessarily separate, but which is aimed at identifying who our MSP partners are and offering them a designation,” Fossnes said. “We are working toward that goal. We don’t want to do anything that’s too complex though, and put a lot of barriers in front of them.”
Looking forward to 2019, Fossnes said that partners should expect to see further investment in terms of people and resources to engage with partners in sharing opportunities, enhancing tools, and increasing marketing.
“There are many items we have in the chute to enhance things, involving people, programs and processes,” she stated.