One of the key initiatives of RSA Security has been the focus on region-wise budget allocation to ensure that every region is amply backed up to carry on their channel activities throughout the year
Cybersecurity company, RSA Security has its own unique way of working on enablement of channel partners and manoeuvring of channel strategies. The company, which is 96 per cent driven by channel, is however gearing up to getting all its resources aligned to work on what is most important to it.
Kartik Shahani, Director Channel, APJ, RSA shares how RSA is going around its channel ecosystem and its focus for 2020. “When I took over last year, the channel operations was in silos. The marketing team would organise events and engage in lead generation in their own way. Enablement happening through distribution partners for the other partners. Some enablement was happening from the side of RSA as well. However, it had a programmatic 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 place, things have been falling in line for RSA’s channel endeavours. The first thing the company did was to focus on region-wise budget allocation to ensure that every region is amply backed up to carry on their channel activities throughout the year.
The next effort 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.
“Here, we wanted 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 which technologies, and does it align with them? We also consider their commitment in doing that business with us, and then we 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 exercise comes together in an integrated manner. And that is what we did all of last year,” informs Shahani.
There is a number of programs from the house of RSA to empower the channel. “Our marketing plan, itself, is like a program. There are other programs that we offer, such as the enablement exercise. There are projects that we do in a country or a region to see how they are going to be replicable. For instance, in a two-day sales training, there will be learnings and, hence, content generation. This will be shared from India, all the way up to Japan and everyone will get the same training. In case of alliance program, we would want to have relationships with the big four and they will go with us jointly to the market. Within the marketing domain, there are different programs for the channel. There are also programs such as a 10-city road show,” adds Shahani.
There is also an RSA Tiering Program, which is for the Gold, Titanium 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 conduct marketing programs for those partners to give them more access to customers. There is a unique deal registration (DR) program which has been helpful for the Asia Pacific and Japan region. Under this program, when a partner registers a deal with us, we work with them, and he gets all the benefits of driving that deal. An account is locked-in with the partner. The special discount and the DR discount is transferred to the partner,” explains Shahani.
RSA Security, with the backing from Dell Technologies, is positioned well in the market, providing technology, consistency and continuity with customers. For partners, it is a major benefit as they are backed by a company, which is stable, invests in technology and makes their customers feel confident.
The company is also strong in the area of enablement. “RSA Archer, our auto line of product, requires the most amount of skills. And that’s not because of the complexity of the product, it is because compliance needs a lot of knowledge base and enablement, which takes a while to be absorbed and should be of a certain level,” claims Shahani.
“Our another product, Net Witness, features the whole aspect of intelligent threat analysis. When it is put into a SOC, and all the information starts flowing into this product, which then starts analysing. It does tasks like user behaviour analysis and several other types of analysis,” he adds.
In 2020, the company’s focus is around the number of partners that can bring incremental business. “We are trying to figure out a methodology to gauge the amount of our direct business, vis-a-vis the business done by our channel partners. If we can recognise this, we can make higher investments in the channel space,” he stresses.
According to Shahani, in 2020, RSA Security has prioritised focused partner enablement.
“We are building an entire landscape, carving out spaces within our coverage model to determine where the partners will operate, what they will bring and what we will recognise. This gives us a complete clarity of what we are getting by having direct sales force to meet customers and have our channels do it as well. Once we get that picture, then all our programs become much easier and better to manage,” concludes Shahani.