SUSE Partner Program Gets Revamp to Expand Partner Opportunities

Giving SUSE partners new ways to offer customers a broader range of services is the goal of the program reorganization.

Todd R. Weiss

June 22, 2020

4 Min Read
Partner programs

SUSE is redesigning its partner program so it’s easier for partners to organize and sell SUSE products to customers.

The company will implement the changes in September. That’s according to Rachel Cassidy, SUSE’s senior VP for global channel and cloud. In a preview of the changes, Cassidy said SUSE will overhaul the program with a new structure and approach.


SUSE’s Rachel Cassidy

“Historically, our partner program was routed by whether partners were ISVs, MSPs, resellers and others,” Cassidy told Channel Futures. “We’ve had different partner programs out of different business units in these categories. We are changing that to have one partner portal across everything. That will give partners more opportunities to avoid being pegged in just one segment.”

The revamped new program will also get an overarching new name – SUSE One – along with a new logo and other materials.

Some visible redesign cues are already in place, including a new look for the existing SUSE partner portal, said Cassidy. But SUSE is yet to make the deeper operational and organizational changes under the surface, as planning and implementation continues. Those improvements will come later as the September portal relaunch date arrives, she said.

SUSE is revamping the program because its partner ecosystem continues to evolve. The changes are coming to help partners better support their customers’ digital transformations, she said.

The new partner program will make it easier to bring all partners together under SUSE’s open source values, said Cassidy.

“Our intent is that we’ll have specializations so any partner type can opt in or out of various services,” she said. “It will allow them to differentiate and provide their added values. If a partner is an ISV and is building out a services practice, this allows them to grow it out. That will make those focus areas more impactful for their customers.”

New Partner Program Levels

The new SUSE partner program will include three reorganized levels – silver, gold and platinum – each bringing different benefits for partners. Those will replace the existing partner levels — registered, accredited and solution partners.

“Partners are changing how they support their customers, and we’re there as well to help them,” said Cassidy. “They can do what they want to do when working with SUSE. It’s flexible and agile with how they want to align with their customers.”

Cassidy joined SUSE on Dec. 1 to help evolve the company’s channel operations. Her job is to review today’s partner program, see where markets are going and how SUSE can better serve its customers.

To reach those goals, SUSE is improving its marketing development fund and deal registration programs to make them more compelling.

“We’re going to elevate those programs,” she said. “If partners have new opportunities they want to bring to the table and get discounts for, we support it. We’re restructuring how it works and making it more interesting for our partners.”

The changes are coming to help SUSE further establish itself as the world’s largest independent open source software company.

“We’re excited; we’re investing in our partners and we’re aligning with the market that is changing,” said Cassidy.

A Year of Change

The coming redesign of the SUSE partner program is just one of several big changes at SUSE over the past year.

In March 2019, investment company EQT Partners acquired SUSE from Micro Focus for $2.5 billion. Analysts saw it as a beneficial move for partners and customers, with SUSE getting control over its future. The EQT investment ended four years of Micro Focus ownership and was the fourth transaction involving SUSE since 2004. SUSE’s previous owners also include Novell and Attachmate.

The EQT arrangement allows SUSE to operate on its own instead of under a corporate umbrella. It aims to provide business growth as SUSE pursues its open source mission.

Last July, SUSE replaced its CEO just four months after the company regained its independence as a standalone business. Melissa Di Donato became the first woman to take the company’s helm since SUSE was founded in 1992. Di Donato came to SUSE Linux from SAP, where she served as chief operating officer and chief revenue officer since 2016.

About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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