VEEAMON PARTNER SUMMIT — Veeam is on a mission and has a new strategic statement: to provide the most complete hyper-availability platform for intelligent data management that ensures business continuity, reduces risk and accelerates innovation. That message is clear at this year’s VeeamOn event – which wraps Wednesday – for partners and customers
What was less clear is a road map for the company's ProPartner Program partners and how their particular value-add fits with Veeam’s journey to intelligent data management. Veeam, a 100 percent channel-led company, has 2,500 transacting partners each quarter, including resellers and cloud service providers (CSPs), in North America. The company’s CSPs are growing more quickly than resell partners.
Partners attending VeeamOn Partner Summit 2018 had the opportunity to hear Kate Hutchison, chief marketing officer, talk in depth about the vendor’s rebranding effort. Veeam also distributed the Messaging Handbook 1.0, Partner Edition, to attendees so they can articulate Veeam’s core messaging and positioning as it rebrands. While it’s critical that all of Veeam stakeholders know the company’s new messaging and positioning, it isn’t a road map for how a partner builds or expands its business.
Channel Futures met with Kevin Rooney, vice president of Americas channel at Veeam, and Jeff Crum, director of product marketing, to learn more about the company’s partner strategy.
Channel Futures: Is there a road map for partners to follow so that they can grow with the company as it expands its vision?
Jeff Crum: Let me give you some context about the platform and how that fits into the partner story. While the vision that you heard about was enterprise-focused messaging, we’re committed to all our customer segments. And when we talk about the five critical stages on the journey to intelligent data management in the hyper-available enterprise – backup, aggregation, visibility, orchestration, and automation – we’re not advocating that every customer needs to go through these five stages to be successful. It’s intended to be flexible.
So, if a partner has a customer that’s not necessarily an enterprise customer and who may even be struggling with basic backup and recovery, we need to have a strategy to have them execute a successful stage one — and that’s fine and may be all they need to do. Or, a partner may have a customer that wants to have more visibility of data; we can help them with that. Or, a partner may have a larger enterprise customer that wants to know where we’re going and what the future looks like; we can help them with that.
If you think about our partner community, historically, they know us as virtual server backup — that’s how we came about, that’s how the business grew. But now we’re arming our partners with a broader platform with the availability of more products. One of the things we heard about from our partners for a long time was, "It’s great that you have a virtual server backup product, but I have customers who want to do physical server backup." Well, we didn’t release agents until the end of 2017 and have the ability to do that at any scale or central management.
Part of the platform vision that we have is that partners can now do a lot more than VM backup; you can do physical [one] or you can use the same physical agents to do cloud-based workloads, or if you have a customer that has an Office 365 email solution, we have a solution that can protect that as well. So we have all these opportunities for our partners to go in with a broad platform message rather than just selling backup and replication.
Kevin Rooney: One of the beauties of Veeam is that we often don’t separate discussions with our partners from that of our salesforce because we are 100-percent channel. So, the strategy of how we’re going to go out and attack our share of customers is the same. What we own on the partner side of the house is to make sure that we’re enabling our partners to deliver that message, and to deliver the technology and solutions that the customers are requiring.
Today, Veeam is in a far better position to enable, educate and empower our partners than we’ve ever been. That’s because, over the past 12 months, we’ve built out a dedicated enablement team. What that means is that we’re putting bodies and resources against the education and enablement of our partners; we’re leveraging the same learning tools with our partners that we leverage with our own sales people; we’re doing roadshow-type trainings; and we’ve introduced partner academies, which is like a roadshow where we go to different cities and invite all partner types to participate in a half-day of sales and technical training.
We’re not changing our DNA; we are getting better at enablement so that partners can leverage the tools so that they can be more successful.
CF: So as Veeam broadens its product portfolio, partners could opt to expand their business focus, as well?
JC: Yes. With our Orchestrator product that we released earlier this year – that provides disaster-recovery orchestration and helps with testing and compliance – that may need more solution-type selling with consultative services. That’s an opportunity for partners to get in and potentially sell their own services too.
Veeam DataLabs, that we just announced, could be a value-add sell for partners. (Veeam DataLabs is a form of copy management that allows customers to create use cases, beyond data protection, for things such as DevTest, DevOps, and DevSecOps, while reducing risk and optimizing operations.)
Partners can talk about DataLabs with their customers in addition to our traditional product as a way to add value there.
So, where the platform folds into the channel-strategy story is the ability for partners to sell a much more complete solution, broaden the offering and go across market segments more easily.
KR: Up until 2017, we didn’t segment our customers by size. Then we got big enough as an organization that we realized that we needed to do that to give our customers the best service possible. Partners already segment themselves like that, so it helped us better align with our partners.
We’re not asking our partners to do anything different. We’re asking them to continue on this journey with us.
CF: Is the company looking to expand the number of partners it has?
KR: No. I don’t have any goals as the leader of the partner organization to go out and sign up a specific number of new partners. What we’re looking for is our [current] partners who see Veeam and our vision and where we’re headed, and where the product is today as their go-to vendor in the data-availability space.
Once they subscribe to that – and we have a wonderful partner community – we differentiate them within the partner world by how invested they are in us. Are they getting their sales and technical certifications? Are we their go-to in the data-availability space? And we overallocate resources to those partners who are taking that more strategic approach with us.