November 20, 2019
(Pictured above: Infoblox’s Lori Cornmesser at the company’s partner summit in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Nov. 19.)
INFOBLOX PARTNER SUMMIT — Infoblox‘s fiscal year 2019, which ended in July, marked the best year in the company’s history for channel performance, and its three core focus areas for 2020 are security, cloud/SaaS and driving new customer acquisition.
That’s what partners were told during the first day of Infoblox’s second annual Partner Summit in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Infoblox partners include MSPs, resellers and technology alliance partners.
At the Partner Summit, Infoblox is unveiling its new professional services program, which allows partners to go to market with Infoblox services using its enablement tools, methodology and documentation.
Infoblox has been on the move, with the August launch of BloxOne DDI, a cloud-managed service that extends network services to branch offices, and this month’s acquisition of network operating system (NOS) developer SnapRoute to expand the services on its BloxOne platform.
With SnapRoute’s cloud-native OS, Infoblox now will be able to accelerate the development and delivery of additional network services.
Lori Cornmesser, Infoblox’s vice president of worldwide partner and alliance sales, said her company capped off a “fabulous” fiscal year 2020, with 30% growth in new partner bookings and more than 40% growth in new logos.
“Partners are showing up well and in the right places,” she said. “We were very deliberate in our go-to-market. When we’re talking about security, we’re talking about 10 partners in the Americas that we must get that right with. Same for our SaaS plays as well as some of the others. So it was about making sure we had the right partners in the right places, and doing the right things, and we were leveraging them in the right ways.”
Fiscal 2019 was all about “channel lift” and where Infoblox and its partners could go together, Cornmesser said.
“And we’re focusing on ease of doing business,” she said. “We’ve continued to keep this at the forefront of what we’re doing … and that continues to be streamlined.”
Infoblox’s Bill McCarthy
Bill McCarthy, Infoblox’s executive vice president of worldwide field operations, said the investment that his company has made in its partner program is an “intentional decision at an executive level to put dollars behind Lori’s organization so we have a mechanism for true scale.”
“We need to move to a world where the solution the partner sells, it might be they’re only focused on our security offering, but we need them to be cradle to grave capable in supporting a customer, and we will get behind them with that,” he said. “We still need lots of network and strong network sellers; that’s the foundation of our business and we’re going to ask our partners to support that.”
Infoblox has a “very strong, foundational” view of what domain name system (DNS) security can provide and how it can help its end-user customers,” McCarthy said.
Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.
“If I’m a partner, I’d really want to lean into that story,” he said. “We’ve seen large peer companies make acquisitions in that space, we’re seeing a lot of big security companies lean in on DNS security, and this is our heritage as a company, so we want to make sure we play that out. But security for us is both on prem[ises] and it’s in our cloud offerings, and so when we talk about our strategy for security growth or cloud growth, those things really merge together under our threat defense offerings. And then outside of security in SaaS, we foundationally are really committed to growth and very aggressive growth. The reason I’m pleased with that is because it allows partners to invest and continue the benefit of the long-term relationships we’ve had.”
Jesper Andersen, Infoblox’s president and CEO, elaborated on his company’s goals, saying “we want to be the Amazon or Azure of network.”
“That’s what we’ve been working on the last five years,” he said. “You can’t convince me someone isn’t going to do that, and we have every right to claim that turf. We will continue to pursue our vision of simplifying the network.”
McCarthy said based on individual conversations he’s had with partners, they understand that …
… “there’s an ask that is very clear from Infoblox.”
“We want more from our partner relationships, we want more of their capability, we want their leadership, and we want to be organized with the right set of partners to drive the business,” he said.
With the new professional services program, partners can “make good margin and a lot of them see services as a critical component of their business where they continue to grow,” said Sandy Janes, Infoblox’s senior director of global partner programs and operations. Partners will have a “complete view into everything we have within our own professional services organization,” she said.
“We are also seeing an increase in demand from our customers, especially as they’re increasing their security solutions,” she said. “They’re really looking for partners to help them bring that together from a services perspective, so we want to make sure that we’re working with our partners to increase that customer success,” she said. “We’re going to have a phased approach to the program. In phase one … partners will be able to introduce legacy Microsoft and bind (associates a local address with a socket), and then we have advanced tracks, and the way the advanced tracks work really aligns with how partners go to market. So if a partner is focused on a particular legacy solution, that’s what they’ll become accredited on. We want to make sure we’re setting them up for success in the ways that they go to market already.”
Kevin Steeprow, vice president of design engineering for Red River, an Infoblox partner, said services are a big part of providing technology to help customers achieve their desired business outcomes.
“We really look forward to the service offering that they’re putting together, and we’re looking forward to jumping into that and getting our people up to speed, certified and ready to roll,” he said. “Services are critical for us going forward, everything we want to do is managed services led, so having the training and capabilities to do that is absolutely on our forefront.”
Shawn Mininger, senior manager of solution services at Ingram Micro-owned Cloud Harmonics, another Infoblox partner, said Infoblox’s focus on a secure access service edge (SASE) model is “very astute.” This summer, Gartner released a report predicting that the WAN edge and network security markets will converge into a new market built on the SASE model.
“I believe that they are correct in taking what has traditionally been viewed as an underlying network infrastructure and recognizing that in this world, it’s got to be more than that,” he said. “I believe where they’re going is definitely the direction they should be.”
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