Cyber security company, RSA Security has their own unique way of working on their enablement of channel partners and manoeuvring of channel strategies. The company which is 96 per cent driven by channel is however gearing up around getting all its resources aligned to work on what is most important to the company. Kartik Shahani, Director Channel, APJ, RSA shares how RSA is going around its channel ecosystem and its focus for the approaching year.
“When I took over last year, the channel operations was in silos. The marketing would do events and engage in lead generation in their own way. Again there were enablement happening through the partners like distribution partners for the other partners. Some enablement was happening from the side of RSA as well. But again, it was programmatic in its approach. That is when we thought that this needs to be put into an integrated framework, whereby all the resources are aligned to work together,” says Shahani.
With the new initiatives now in the kitty, things started falling in line for RSA’s channel endeavours. The first thing the company did was to focus on budget allocation region wise to ensure that every region is amply backed up to carry on their channel activities throughout the year.
The second thing was to properly comprehend the various aspects of channel enablement such as which partner should be enabled; how many of them should be enabled; and who will enable them. “So we said we want to have a programmatic method of doing it so that it does not become ad hoc. We look at how many partners we need. Which are the partners who are going to do what technologies and does it align with them? Do they have commitment in doing that business with us, and then we go and train those partners to the best extent that we can and the marketing dollars can be used for enablement, pipeline generation and customer awareness. This whole thing comes together when you look at it in an integrated manner. And that is what we did all of last year. I started implementing it this year,” informs Shahani.
There are a number of programs from the house of RSA to empower the channel. “For example, when we talk about our marketing plan, the marketing plan itself is like a program. There is an RoI on our program. There are other programs that we have, like the enablement is a program. There are projects that we do in a country or a region to see how those are going to be replicable (eg. for a two day sales training. There will be learnings and hence content generation and this is going to be shared from India, all the way up to Japan and everyone will get the same training). So incase of alliance program, we would want to have relationship with the big four and they will go with us jointly to the market. So within marketing, there will be different programs for the channel. Again there are programs like a ten city road show,” adds Shahani.
There are also RSA ‘tiering program’, which is for the Gold partners, Titanium partners and Platinum partners, with differing benefits for each. “The Gold partners have a standard set of benefits and we enhance them by giving them specialised accreditation training. We do marketing programs through those partners to give them more access to customers. There is a deal registration (DR) program and that is very unique, that has been very good and helpful for Asia Pacific and Japan as a region. Here, when a partner registers a deal with us, we will work with them, and he gets all the benefits in driving that deal. No one else will get all those benefits that he gets, first of all, an account is locked in with him. The special discounts go to him and then the DR discount, which is over and above it,” explains Shahani.
RSA Security with the backing from Dell Technologies is positioned well in the market, providing technology, consistency and continuity with customers. For the partners, it is a major benefit as they are backed by a company, which is stable, is investing in technology, is top of the line in terms of the technologies, and this makes their customers feel confident as well.
The company is also very strong when it comes to enablement. “RSA Archer, our auto line of product is the one that requires the most amount of skill. And that’s not because of the complexity of the product, it is because compliance needs a lot of knowledge and that knowledge base and enablement takes a while to be absorbed and should be of a certain level,” claims Shahani.
“The next product is Net Witness. This has the whole aspect of intelligent threat analysis. So when it is put into a sock, and all the information starts flowing into this product, it starts analysing. It does things like user behaviour analysis and several other analysis,” he adds.
Next year, the company’s focus is around how much more the channels can put together, in terms of incremental business and further wants to recognise it and be able to report in its system. “We are trying to figure out a methodology to gauge how much is done by our direct business and to what extent business is done by our channel partners. If we can recognise that, then obviously we can make higher investments in that space,” he stresses.
According to Shahani, what they want to do for the coming year is all around focused partner enablement, net new logos that bring in incremental business and the leverage that can be garnered from the channel. “We are building an entire landscape, carving out spaces within our coverage model to say, here’s where the partners will operate, here’s what they will bring, here’s what we will recognise. And that gives us as a company, a complete clarity of what we are getting by having direct sales force to go and meet customers and have our channels do it. And once we get that picture, then all our programs become much easier and better to manage,” concludes Shahani.