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OpenText Hires Comcast Vet as Channel, Field Marketing Director

Partner satisfaction is critical for OpenText to meet its sales growth targets.

Edward Gately

August 25, 2021

6 Min Read
marketing
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OpenText, parent of Carbonite and Webroot, has hired Comcast vet Bill Steen as its new director of channel and field marketing.

In his new role, Steen will lead the North America channel marketing team for the small, midsize and consumer division focused on cybersecurity and resilience, data security and protection. He’ll help the channel protect SMB customers by providing Webroot and Carbonite security solutions.

In addition, Steen will manage the partner life cycle from targeting, recruitment, onboarding and sales enablement.

Before joining OpenText, Steen was director of indirect channel and alliance partner marketing at Comcast Business. Before that, he was with Level 3 for 13 years; his last job at Level 3 was director of partner programs and marketing.

He also had roles with Sun Microsystems and GE Access.

OpenText acquired Carbonite and Webroot in 2019 for $1.45 billion. The combined business now pitches cyber resilience to MSPs and VARs in the enterprise market, and directly to enterprise corporate IT managers.

OpenText also offers its own managed security services to enterprise customers.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in July.

During this month’s fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call, Mark Barrenechea, OpenText’s vice chair, CEO and CTO, said the company doubled revenue to nearly $3.4 billion over the past seven years.

“We can double OpenText again over the next five to seven years,” he said. “We have returned to organic growth, and organic growth is here to stay.”

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Steen talks about what OpenText partners can expect from him in his new director role.

Channel Futures: Why did you want to take this role? Will you be working directly with OpenText partners?

Steen-Bill_OpenText-1.jpg

OpenText’s Bill Steen

Bill Steen: I’ll be working very closely with OpenText partners, so I’m very excited about that. It cuts across a bunch of different channel types, which is fine. A lot of work with MSPs, VARs and distributors, kind of traditional channels. But then there are additional ones that are focused on tools for the channel, remote monitoring, etc. The main reason I wanted to take the job is that I really like security. And I think that there’s just going to be this continued need for advanced security for small businesses, all the way up to midmarket and into the enterprise. So with the growing need for security solutions and security products, it’s a great time for my career to really focus on that space a bit more because it’s such a growth area and such a big revenue opportunity for departments.

CF: How does this role differ from your role at Comcast Business? How will your previous experience come into play in this new role?

BS: It’s similar, actually, to what I was doing for Comcast Business. It’s really working closely with the sales team on growing the business and achieving the numbers, and bringing in new partners and getting existing partners more productive and more enabled so they drive business and revenue for themselves. The position at OpenText is very similar in terms of that full partner life cycle approach and really going deep with specific partners on demand generation, leveraging things like market development funds (MDF), helping them to drive the message out to their customers.

CF: What will be your specific role at OpenText in terms of Carbonite and Webroot, and partners of those businesses?

BS: I have a responsibility for the Americas. So we’ve got a team of channel marketers that are assigned to partner types. So there’s a team focused on the MSPs, a team focused on the remote monitoring group, distributors and OEMs. There are a bunch of different kinds of partner types, if you will. So we’ll work very closely with them on a number of things. One, in some areas, is …

… partner recruitment. Clearly, MSPs are seeing demand generation from their customers; obviously, for security solutions. So we’ll work both across Carbonite as well as Webroot to make sure that that kind of complete story of antivirus and protection, all the way through backup and recovery for true cyber resilience is something they’re able to articulate and take to their customers.

CF: OpenText focuses on growth, both organically and via acquisitions. Will you play a role in this growth? And what does this growth offer partners?

BS: It’s great because OpenText is a very channel-centric organization. So when I’ve worked in telecom in the past, both across Comcast Business and Level 3, the indirect channel was a smaller percentage of the business than the direct sales efforts. At OpenText, and specifically at the SMBC division that I’m focused on, it’s all channel. So it’s all about partner enablement. It’s all partner-first, which is great because the whole organization knows and understands what our partners need. We have to make it easy to do business and easy to sell, and we have to support them. So that’s really refreshing to have an entire organization built around the channel and channel-knowledgeable.

CF: How has the pandemic affected OpenText and its partners? Has it created both challenges and opportunities?

BS: I think the pandemic has obviously shifted a big chunk of the workforce to work from home. So for those IT managers that are trying to secure the network and secure the endpoints, there’s a greater need for endpoint security. So it’s been a great opportunity for the partners. Some of the partners I’ve talked to have really grown their business substantially over this time period because of that need, where all the workers aren’t in one location, in the office, where the security requirements are a little bit more straightforward. Now, you have many more devices. You have people’s personal devices accessing information. It’s really proven a tremendous opportunity for the channel to provide more value add to their customers.

CF: What’s at the top of your to-do list?

BS: It’s really to just get to know who the right people are internally. Get to know my team, start to meet with partners, kind of get some feedback on where the best opportunities are. Really think through our partner go-to-market plans, and how we measure results and how we help the sales team grow their business.

CF: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now with OpenText, Webroot and Carbonite?

BS: I’m a very sales-friendly marketer, so the bottom line is achieving those sales growth targets. I think partner satisfaction is the most critical way to get there. So the partners have a lot of opportunity. There’s quite a bit of need and desire for improving security systems within the customer. So if we achieve the numbers, that’s great. We’ll have other core metrics in terms of new partners brought into the program, partners that are being productive, partner satisfaction. Those will be the things that we really want a baseline for now and really show some measurable growth as we go into a year from now.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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