Just a few years ago, Zenoss, a software-defined IT operations platform provider, sold 90 percent of its product through a direct sales model. Last year, its direct-sales figure dipped to 60 percent and channel sales accounted for about 40 percent. The company’s goal is to bring in even more managed services providers (MSPs) and grow its indirect sales revenue.
Earlier this month, Zenoss, headquartered in Austin, Texas, announced expansion into India. The vendor also has a presence in the U.K.
We caught up with Patrick Emerson, vice president global channel and business development at Zenoss, to learn more about the company’s go-to-market strategy as well as the business opportunity for MSPs.
Channel Futures: Let’s start by the software-defined IT operations platform and the company’s target customer.
Patrick Emerson: The notion of managing the complexity, scale and the rate of change in the IT environment makes management of that beyond human capability. Managing and automating that complexity is essential.
For companies that are digitally transforming, they’re buying hyperconverged infrastructure and converged infrastructure and they’re moving to clouds. Now, they’re forced to reconcile managing their legacy IT, modern IT architectures and cloud environments with old tools.
So this notion of software-defined IT operations — we’re saying that unless your aim is lights-out operations, which is the goal of predicting and eliminating failures in your IT environment without people involved, you will be left behind.
The CIOs we talk to are trying to take cost and risk out of the IT environment. But the strategic ones are trying to create business value — and in order to do that you have to move fast, have clear visibility into what you have, and [be] able to predict any outages. We call that software-defined IT operations.
Our target customers are medium and large enterprises that have a reasonable amount of complexity and multiple tools that they’ve traditionally used to manage, monitor, meter and operate their environment.
CF: So, Zenoss is about replacing traditional management tools?
PE: Our average customer has about 20-30 tools from companies such as CA, IBM, BMC, HP, as well as point tools that they may have gotten with every platform that they bought along the way.
What we do is help them systematically retire those tools, many of which are burdened with high-revenue streams and only give them a sliver of the visibility they need to manage their IT environment.
CF: What are the company’s routes to market?
PE: We sell Zenoss as a service, we sell Zenoss on premises, and we OEM our platform.
CF: Tell us about Zenoss partners.
PE: We work with MSPs, global systems integrators (GSIs), regional SIs, and resellers. We’re seeing a lot of the GSIs, regional SIs and resellers turning themselves into MSPs.
We’ll continue to recruit MSPs. They, like the enterprises, have a myriad of tools and don’t have optimal solutions. And many are using ServiceNow as a platform for providing managed services to their customers — and we’re highly complementary to ServiceNow.
CF: Why should our readers, MSPs, be interested in Zenoss?
PE: If they’re like many MSPs, they need a story that’s relevant to tell an organization that they may be doing business with that’s different than talking about some new hardware box. Maybe they’ve been selling their customers virtualization and they’ve done that at the enterprise and at the desktop — so what’s next? What’s the next relevant conversation that’s going to get you a seat with the organization? This concept of software-defined IT operations – the notion of predicting and eliminating outages, and the goal of lights-out operations – that’s what every CXO is interested in.