'7 Minutes' with LiveAction Channel Chief Joe O'Connor

LiveAction's channel chief says advanced network monitoring can boost partners' SD-WAN engagements.

Lorna Garey

July 24, 2018

6 Min Read

**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.**

LiveAction is looking to keep companies’ and MSPs’ network-performance monitoring and diagnostic capabilities up to the task of managing software-defined and intent-based networks. Besides basic visibility, NPMD solutions are used to find the source of performance problems, then drill into the root cause. They can help with complex multicloud and SD-WAN deployments, so value extends outside the campus network. The company’s LiveNX is tuned to provide deep insights into Cisco’s iWAN SD-WAN solution, based on Viptela. LiveAction also recently acquired NPMD challenger Savvius and appointed Datto and Cisco alum Brooks Borcherding as president and CEO.

LiveAction’s former EVP and COO, Dana Matsunaga, previously shared his insights into the challenges posed by intent-based networking.


LiveAction’s Joe O’Connor

Customer admins might be using a mix of net monitoring tools from the likes of Ipswitch, NetScout, Riverbed or SolarWinds, but Joe O’Connor, who leads LiveAction’s channels and alliances team and sets channel and go-to-market strategy for the company, says next-gen networks need new insights.

Like Borcherding, O’Connor spent time at Cisco, where he led IoT/smart-building initiatives.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?

Joe O’Connor: LiveAction has a clear and compelling value proposition for network operations teams: We simplify the management of increasingly complex enterprise networks. Macro trends like digital transformation, multicloud and software-defined networks are compelling, but they each exponentially increase the complexity of the network fabric. When an issue surfaces, the network operations teams face the classic “needle in a haystack” situation. What is the issue? What is the source? Is it the network? An application? A device? A user? Is it severe?

LiveAction is an enterprise software company that simplifies the network for IT organizations to deliver continuous insight, service assurance and precise control. Customers rave about our visual user interface, the elegant simplicity and the ability to quickly identify the root cause of an issue. They tell us having a solution such as ours enables them to ease their network operations, thereby freeing them up to devote more time to other critical issues. You could describe our customers as “raving fans,” which is reflected in our extremely high Net Promoter Score (NPS), primarily because we drive the success of the network operations teams. We help them quickly find the elusive needle, simply and efficiently.

CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features? Do you work with masters and/or distributors?

JO: LiveAction is a channel-led business with a channel program built to serve the needs of VARs and system integrators. The program has three levels – platinum, gold and authorized – with increasing benefits associated with each tier. As you may expect, each tier requires …

… achievement of minimum annual revenue targets and an increased commitment to allocate specific, focused sales and technical resources, along with the respective training certification.

Our training curriculum is tailored to both sales and systems engineering roles. Discounts are commensurate with program levels, and we provide additional incentive, through our LiveRewards program, for deal and opportunity registration. Our partner program is selective at the premier levels based on capabilities and commitment, but we do have a programmatic means to work with new partners that have not yet entered our program.

One of the unique features of our program is our LiveRewards incentive program, mentioned above. We offer our channel partner account teams the ability to accumulate points based on the identification of qualified opportunities, which they can convert to cash or other forms of rewards simply through the registration of a new opportunity. Our partners have embraced this incentive program, and the results continue to be encouraging.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

JO: LiveAction is a channel-focused sales organization with most of our business transacting through one of our partners. We provide robust support for our [approximately] 300 global partners through three field-based teams: First, we help partners go to market and identify opportunities through our partner field marketing team. Second, we help partners develop and close enterprise transactions with our LiveAction strategic sales teams (regional sales managers and sales engineers). Third, we enable and empower our partners through our partner account management team.

CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better? 

JO: LiveAction competes in the NPMD market – network performance monitoring and diagnostics – and we’re considered a visionary in the latest Gartner Magic Quadrant report. This is a large, vibrant and growing market being driven by the macro trends I mentioned above. Therefore, you would consider our competitors to be the legacy network-management providers who are well established in the IT ecosystem. But LiveAction offers something unique in the market; we are defining and executing the next generation of network management driven by our patented visualization capabilities built to support the emerging intent-based networks. There is no one in the market offering anything similar. This gives us the unique ability to displace the legacy systems with a solution that supports both traditional and emerging networks.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

JO: There are two critical areas we see our portfolio growing to meet the macro trends and micro needs of the enterprise networking operations teams:

  1. The enterprise networking market is being disrupted by the move to software-defined networks. We expect this market transition to accelerate, driven by the compelling value proposition of SD-WAN. The future will be multivendor, multicloud and multifabric. SDN is now affecting all areas of networking from the data center to the campus and across the WAN to the branch. And SD-WAN is a prime example of the transformation — SD-WAN promises significant cost savings, but at the cost of increased complexity.

  2. The different tools required to manage complex enterprise networks are ever increasing, inefficient and are straining limited resources. We will be strengthening our portfolio with new products, seamless integration with ecosystem partners and acquisitions such as the recent addition of Savvius. We will continue developing our platform to enable partners to offer a broader and deeper networking management solution to their enterprise customers.

This market growth and transition represents a tremendous opportunity for a …

… next-generation NPMD solution, and LiveAction is positioned like no other to deliver on the promise of this future state.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that timeframe?

JO: Our success will continue to be coupled to the success of our partner ecosystem. Our program is built to maximize partner engagement, profitability and growth. We will continue to add new programs, products and rewards that leverage our channel go-to-market model. We expect this unique market opportunity to present our partners with a compelling growth opportunity. We predict our partners will leverage more of our platform’s capabilities to develop new service offerings to help customers navigate this transition and create new revenue sources as a result.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

JO: “How can I get started with LiveAction?” We have a 14-day trial of our software. Try us out and let us know how we can help your customers be successful in managing complex networks. From there our Day-0 planning capabilities allow you to help your customers:

  • Understand the network to help with planning for deployment.

  • Understand the network, site, user, applications, transport usage/behavior/pattern.

  • Determine initial deployment sites and policies to implement.

  • Which ultimately leads into discovery and design phase for, for example, SD-WAN deployments.

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