September 6, 2017
**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
If there’s one thing that will ruin your day, it’s having to roll a truck to a customer site. Opengear is looking to minimize that expense – and help you help customer IT teams avoid those dreaded late-night 911 calls – via a slate of remote management and monitoring software for IT and communications gear. Last month it even announced zero-touch provisioning of Server Technology’s PRO1 and PRO2 PDUs. In addition to ServerTech, Opengear has strategic alliances with AT&T, Cisco, NetApp, the Open Compute Project and Verizon.
Opengear’s Bryan Keepers
The company competes with Lantronix, Raritan, Vertiv and others but stands out for its vendor-agnostic approach, specialization and support for OCP hardware. We caught up with Americas channel sales manager Bryan Keepers to find out what’s new with Opengear’s tech lineup and channel program.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about Opengear’s offering. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Bryan Keepers: I believe much of the reason behind Opengear’s success has been the focus of our product line. We primarily offer out-of-band console servers, which has allowed our development team to create fantastic products that have almost a cult following among our customers and channel partners.
For network engineers, the ability to access any of their IT infrastructure locations remotely in the middle of the night – whether at a data center or a faraway branch office – relieves a huge potential area of stress. We make their lives easier. I believe that is our secret sauce.
CP: Describe Opengear’s channel program — metal levels, importance of certifications, open or selective, unique features?
BK: Our channel program remains intentionally simple. We offer our complete line of products for sale to any reseller without requiring certifications. With that, we support their efforts with regional sales and sales engineers to help uncover, scope and close business where it occurs. We also provide sales and marketing tools to help with that sale, such as deal registration and collateral tailored to specific vertical markets.
Additionally, Opengear offers a Premier Partner level to selected partners who are helping drive our products to enterprise customers with both data center and remote-site applications. This program provides additional benefits such as tailored sales trainings, customer marketing and other initiatives to help drive the business.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
BK: Seventy-five percent of our business is through our reseller channel. We currently have over 400 partners in North America, with that number growing by 20-40 new partners per quarter.
CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes Opengear’s offering better?
BK: Lantronix, Raritan, and Vertiv (Avocent) are our primary competitors. While out-of-band (OOB) is a secondary market for them, Opengear is focused exclusively on OOB unlike other providers.
Our key differentiators are:
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Certified Internal Cellular (AT&T, Verizon, Rest-of-World). No other vendor has this internal certification.
Vendor-agnostic: Opengear’s technology plays well with other manufacturers and provides flexibility into our end customers’ networks.
Centralized management through our new Lighthouse 5 product (providing a single pane of glass).
Our Zero Touch Provisioning (ZTP) Internal Flash/TFTP server offers rapid automated configuration of Opengear devices.
CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?
BK: Network infrastructure continues to evolve quickly, with the adoption of hyperscale deployments and the gradual change in role of network engineers to become more aligned with a NetOps approach. That will require a broader range of capabilities that allows them to fully utilize console server hardware, which is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in network deployments.
CP: How do you expect Opengear’s channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?
BK: I expect our strategy to continue to move in the direction of continued support for those channel partners that complement our product offerings by targeting markets and verticals that our products work well in, as we broaden our line card into new and emerging markets.
CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?
BK: Why should a channel partner work with Opengear? We solve an increasingly high-profile business problem for our end customers: access to their networking infrastructure from anywhere, at any time. This drastically improves resiliency and reduces operating costs.
We are a complementary technology to the biggest brands in the networking space. We are easy to work with, from deal registration to sourcing our gear through broad line distribution. And, we have sales and support teams in strategic areas across North America to support your sale where you need it.
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