Rackspace Cloud Partner Program Marches Forward
Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), the cloud services provider, now has 7,000 channel partners. But Rackspace isn’t resting on its cloud partner program laurels. The company is taking steps to deliver programmatic, vertical market and transformational enhancements to partners, according to Channel Chief Christopher Rajiah.
“Partner contributions to new business at Rackspace have continued to grow every month,” Rajiah told Talkin’ Cloud yesterday. “And we’re continually taking steps to make sure we’re in shape to support that growth.”
Indeed, Rackspace seems to be catching on with Talkin’ Cloud’s readers. Roughly 20 percent of the world’s top 100 cloud services providers (CSPs) and cloud integrators say they have relationships with Rackspace, according to our second-annual Talkin’ Cloud 100 survey results. And Rackspace itself landed near the top of the Talkin’ Cloud 100 list. (Complete results will surface on May 16 during a webcast, with online research debuting May 17.)
Rackspace’s Cloud Partner Strategy
How has Rackspace built channel loyalty? A few examples Rajiah offered, Rackspace:
- unified its partner program last year, giving partners a simplified approach to engage with the cloud services provider.
- launched a net promoter score (NPS) effort with partners. Rackspace was already using NPS metrics to track end-user customer satisfaction. But starting in Q2 of last year, Rackspace began to brainstorm how to launch a similar NPS survey for channel partners. The first NPS poll launched in 2011, and the results showed channel partners are impressed with Rackspace’s sales support efforts.
For 2012, Rajiah said Rackspace is enhancing its partner program in three ways:
- Programmatic updates, including a learning management system (LMS) built for partners; a partner search function for end-customers; and a 12-person partner council to offer feedback and ideas with Rackspace.
- Vertical market updates that involve solutions across e-commerce and content, such as the new Rackspace-Adobe relationship. “We’re building specialized solutions that partners can consume,” he said.
- Transformational updates that involve helping IT as a Service providers to focus on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) opportunities.
Rajiah also remains on the road, meeting partners and customers at major IT conferences. He’s expected to surface next week at the EMC World conference in Las Vegas. And he’s also involved in the planning of Rackspace’s next partner conference, which is expected to arrive sometime in the fall of 2012.
Rackspace certainly remains in growth mode, but the company does face pressure from Wall Street — where some investors recently expressed some concern about Rackspace’s growth forecast.