Sophos Rejects Conventional Wisdom, And Succeeds
Is Sophos the George Costanza of the endpoint security market? Potentially yes. Did The VAR Guy just insult Sophos? Absolutely not. Feeling a little confused? Read a bit more and you’ll understand The VAR Guy’s (unconventional) wisdom regarding the Sophos channel partner program.
In a classic Seinfeld episode, Costanza begins to succeed by doing the complete opposite of his basic instants — landing a girlfriend, moving out of his parents’ house and even landing a job with The New York Yankees, notes Wikipedia.
Now, let’s compare TV fiction to IT fact. Over the last few years, Sophos has succeeded in the channel — and grown — by doing the exact opposite of conventional wisdom. A few examples from Chris Doggett, director of global channel programs at Sophos:
- While rivals launched SaaS (software as a service) initiatives, Sophos has largely retained its on-premise focus.
- While major IT vendors got cozy with CDW and Dell, Sophos has largely avoided partner relationships with both of those companies, Doggett says, in order to give channel partners continued peace of mind. The only Sophos connection to those companies involves a niche legacy deal with Dell.
The results? Bucking conventional wisdom seems to be serving Sophos quite fine, thank you very much. Billings, free cash flow and deferred revenue across US operations grew dramatically in 2008. Doggett concedes that many customer engagements are “high touch” interactions, but “we don’t do a single deal without the channel,” he adds.
How is Sophos growing amid so much competition? One secret to success apparently includes a deal registration system that actually protects resellers’ margins. Doggett and The VAR Guy expect to discuss that strategy a bit more in the next few weeks.