Carbonite is in the early stages of integrating Webroot.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

September 23, 2019

7 Min Read
Merger, Teamwork

Carbonite wants all partners to feel a positive impact when it rolls out its new unified partner program on Jan. 1 in the aftermath of its acquisition of Webroot.

That’s according to Charlie Tomeo, Carbonite’s vice president of worldwide channel sales. Prior to Carbonite’s Webroot acquisition, he was Webroot‘s vice president of worldwide business sales.

Carbonite’s nearly $619 million purchase of Webroot wrapped in March. The companies will combine Carbonite’s backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions with Webroot’s machine-learning capabilities to address endpoint vulnerability.

The move gives Carbonite the R&D to expand beyond BDR and provide customers with a more comprehensive solution, as well as access to Webroot’s extensive managed-services channel. Carbonite can leverage Webroot’s integrations with RMM and PSA providers, which will help even the playing field between it and competitors like Datto, which acquired RMM provider Autotask in 2017, and Unitrends, which RMM provider Kaseya bought last year.


Carbonite’s Charlie Tomeo

Webroot also has strong security training and network-security plays. Integrating its capabilities with Carbonite’s creates a broader security portfolio with a stronger competitive position in the MSP market.

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Tomeo talks about his plans for building a unified partner program, and what new and existing partners can expect in terms of opportunities.

Channel Futures: What’s the status of integrating Carbonite and Webroot partners?

Charlie Tomeo: We’re still in the early phase and that’s one of the things that we’re working on now, trying to build some continuity into making sure that the margins align — and also some of the requirements to partner. On the Carbonite side, there are a lot of requirements that were heavily dependent on certifications and whatnot, and so we’re trying to make sure that it’s just a bit easier to do business with Carbonite as a whole … so that’s why we’re really targeting toward the beginning of the year to roll some of that stuff out.

CF: What sort of feedback have you heard from partners of both companies in terms of what they want to see from the combination?

CT: Everybody always wants more margin, so that’s always one thing. They’re trying to pull out the things that they like from each and they’d like us to make sure we align it there. They don’t want to lose anything. If they have a certain thing that they’re comfortable with, whether that’s how we do deal registration or what deal registration looks like, they certainly don’t want to lose any benefits from their channel, so they want to at least keep those where they are, and then potentially build on that to get more out of it.

CF: Is a new partner program going to be built from the ground up?

CT: I don’t know if you could ever really say that because there are always going to be components that you’re taking. From my standpoint, we need to build a partner program that is consistent for new partners coming in. We want to make sure that there’s standardization there and we will …

… roll certain things into the existing partners that we feel are beneficial to them. So we’re not looking to really negatively impact either channel by making these broad-brush changes to the channel program that could impact them negatively.

CF: What are the strong points of each company’s partner program? Will those be incorporated into the new program?

CT: One of the things that seems to be a strength on both sides … is the partner portals, how they engage with us as a vendor — so we’re in the process of working on that piece to make sure that we don’t lose any functionality. And certain things on the Carbonite [side] they do better, and one that comes to mind is the deal-registration aspect, how they can do it right through the partner portal. And that’s something that maybe is a bit lacking on the Webroot side. The other things that I think are strong, but I think need to be aligned and incorporated are trainings, certifications, things like that to really enable that partner to be successful positioning our solutions to their customer base.

The other thing is Webroot has spent quite a few years focusing a bit more on the MSP market, so we’re going take some of the things that we’ve learned from knowing that MSP customer base and make sure that we’re able to serve up all of Carbonite’s solutions to the partners that consume things a bit differently. And then we’re also learning from the Carbonite side, which is traditionally focused on that traditional VAR-reseller channel to make sure that we’re feeding up the Webroot content in a way that they’re comfortable in seeing it.

CF: Will this combined program provide new opportunities for MSPs, MSSPs and other providers looking to increase their cybersecurity capabillities?

CT: I think that’s something we’ll see. There’s some dependencies when you bring a solution to market in the MSP space, and one of the big ones is just integration with other solutions, as well as integrations within the different platforms that an MSP uses, so ConnectWise, Kaseya, Continuum and Datto, making sure that we have proper integrations in those solutions. So those pieces will come, but that’s not something that we’re going to have come January.

CF: Are there particular challenges associated with putting together a unified partner program in the aftermath of M&A?

CT: I think it really presents more of an opportunity as far as I’m concerned. Because we don’t have a ton of overlap of where we focused, we’re trying to take the best of what each has done, and then also the biggest thing that we’ve been focused on is speaking to our partners, surveying our partners and going through some of that data to understand what is it you like, and not only what you like about the Carbonite or Webroot program, but what’s your favorite program and why do you like it. And so I look at it as an opportunity to …

… make sure that we’re offering the best partner program. Our partners today are looking for a bit more engagement, that true vendor that’s going to go and work directly with them to help them not only be on specific opportunities, but their overall strategy when they’re using a solution like this.

One example, certainly on the MSP side, is they’re looking for more help to understand how do I market these solutions or my offering; how do we teach people how to sell these things as things are getting more complicated, especially on the cybersecurity side. It’s a bit more difficult always going out to your customer base and saying, “Yes, I’ve got one other thing to sell you; here’s something else that you need. So it’s making sure that we help them, to give them the tools to be successful when they’re going out there. I don’t believe that our channel programs, either of them – to use more of a house analogy – we didn’t buy a knockdown; we just bought something that we can fix up and so we’re just looking to see where we can make those changes to move forward.

CP: In terms of percentage of revenue coming from the channel, what are those percentages for Carbonite and Webroot, and will there be new goals in the new program?

CT: On the Webroot side, we’ve been 100% channel except for maybe a handful of opportunities, like some small online stuff, but that’s not really stuff that the channel would have seen anyhow … and it’s very similar on the Carbonite side. Our goal is to really focus on the channel. That is an important thing. We understand the value of the channel and the success of the channel, and that’s how I plan on building out the sales team here, by getting the right partners.

CF: What’s the timeline for the new program and other changes planned?

CT: You’ll see incremental changes throughout the year as we do things, like combining our partner portal and some of the different tools that we leverage to go to market with our partners. But as far as margin and how you do business with us, those are the things that we’re looking to have launched come Jan. 1. We’re not looking to disincentivize anybody we do business with. We’re not looking to impact the partners who are already doing business with us; we’re just looking to kind of build on that and make a better program for them. So there’s really nothing that they should be worried about.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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