Igel is replacing MDF with strategic planning and marketing (SPAM) funds.

Jeffrey Schwartz

February 26, 2020

3 Min Read
Computer Training
"The one thing that we have learned over the years is in regard to hiring and culture.  We have learned how to hire for the right reasons and not necessarily for technical talent.  I would rather have a tier 1 tech come on board that we have to train and is eager to learn more so than a seasoned tech that is not going to fit into our culture.  We have learned how to be patient with our hiring and take the time to fully flesh out the candidates form a culture perspective first." —Aaron Tuomala, CEO, Method TechnologiesShutterstock

Igel is moving to simplify the way it enables partners to sell services, or to deliver their own, by replacing live training with online classes.

The rollout of Igel Academy is one of several updates the provider of virtual client software and VDI hardware is implementing to its partner program for 2020. Igel also is adding incentives for its gold partners and replacing its MDF program with new funding for those who develop proposals to customers. Igel’s changes come as the company, which sells only through the channel, has experienced significant growth over the past two years.

Phil Eden, senior director of Igel’s U.S. channels, outlined the changes to partners attending the company’s recent Disrupt conference in Nashville. Partners should now have login credentials to Igel Academy, Eden said.

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Igel’s Phil Eden

“If you’re familiar with our previous enablement strategy of sitting in a classroom for four hours and taking the exam, those days are past,” Eden said. “Now we host all of our technical and sales certifications behind the Igel Academy.”

All of Igel’s sales go through the channel and the same is true for services, Eden emphasized. Igel has a set of services it provides that partners can sell, each offered as separate SKUs. They include quick-start implementations, design workshops, consulting and health checks. Alternatively, Igel will certify partners to deliver those services, or they can provide their own. Partners can also offer fee-based services as well as Igel’s technical relationship managers (TRMs), which are subscriptions available for 12 months at a list price of $70,000. Igel offers multiyear TRM packages as well.

Eden outlined the other changes to its partner program for this year. The 10% margin will remain the same with 30% for deals that were registered by platinum partners and 25% for gold. One new benefit Igel is giving to gold partners is back-end deal protection, which until now was only offered to platinum partners. Igel also is replacing its MDF program with new strategic planning and marketing (SPAM) funds, Eden said.

“These are the same kinds of dollars that you use traditionally for MDF but they’re proposal-based funds,” he said.

Igel also is increasing reward bonuses to its highest achievers. Partners who exceed $1 million in revenue will receive $20,000. If they hit $1.5 million, the bonuses will double to $40,000 and those who exceed $2 million will receive $60,000. Until recently, that was an elusive goal. Not one partner had $1 million in 2017, according to Jed Ayres, who Igel named as its sole CEO earlier this month. In 2018, eight partners booked more than $1 million, and last year that figure rose to 12.

“We pumped over $1 million in rebates and MDF into the channel,” Ayres told Channel Futures during the company’s Disrupt conference last month in Nashville. “This tells you our partners are winning.”

One of those partners is Pete Downing, chief marketing and technology officer with XenTegra, an MSP which Igel named its partner of the year during last month’s conference. Downing told Channel Futures that his Igel business quadrupled last year over 2018.

“The Linux at the endpoint is resonating,” Downing said. “And I think that it’s more than just about the OS. It’s about the simplicity. It’s about the ability to plug into anything.”

Now, Igel is gearing for further growth with last month’s release of its Igel OS for Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). It’s the first virtual desktop operating system certified to work with Microsoft’s WVD, a virtual desktop as a service (DaaS) hosted in the Azure cloud.

“Microsoft has 128 customers that are actively testing WVD that are among the top 500-sized customers in the world, and many of those have Igel in the test pattern,” Ayres said. “The demand continues to amaze us.”

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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