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Auth0's Channel Chief: Digital Transformation Fueling Growth

Auth0's platform is now available on AWS Marketplace.

Edward Gately

January 21, 2019

8 Min Read
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Auth0, a Seattle-based identity management company, plans to double the size of its business this year and drive global coverage of its partner program.

That’s according to Eric Snyder, Auth0’s senior director of channels. A channel veteran with more than 15 years of industry experience, he joined the company nearly a year-and-a-half ago and and grew its partner program 150 percent in the past year. Its partner community includes such companies as Pandera Labs, Iron Cove Solutions and 729 Solutions.

Auth0’s Identity-as-a-Service (IDaaS), provides thousands of enterprise customers with a universal identity platform for their web, mobile, IoT and internal applications. Its platform authenticates and secures more than 1.5 billion logins per month.

The company’s platform is now available on AWS Marketplace. Customers can add the cost of an Auth0 enterprise subscription to their AWS bill and gain access to cloud-based identity management.

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Auth0’s Eric Snyder

Auth0 also is an advanced technology partner in the AWS Partner Network, allowing it to be hosted on or integrated with AWS.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Snyder talks about what’s fueling his company’s growth and his goals for 2019.

Channel Partners: Tell us about your company and how you work with partners.

Eric Snyder: Our company is about five years old and we were started by two developers in an effort to make identity accessible to all developers regardless of what kind of applications they might be building. So built by developers for developers, and delivered as a service. We provide an IDaaS platform that is completely cloud-based, so we’re cloud-native and deliver the ability for companies of all sizes, from very large to very small, to easily incorporate identity in their applications. One of the things that differentiates Auth0 from others in the space … is that this is very much a universal identity platform, and by that I mean we aren’t just focused on one specific use case. We can handle a whole host of various use cases for that developer. So whether it’s a business-to-consumer website or even employee single sign-on (SSO), those are capabilities that are inherent in our platform, which really sort of streamlines why we’ve been growing as fast as we have.

CP: You’ve been with Auth0 going on 18 months. What has been your role in terms of growing the company’s channel?

ES: My role is to essentially identify what the channel should look like and define the programs, and continue to innovate on those programs, and to engage with partners along with my team to help drive incremental revenue and successful outcomes with our customers with our platform and our technology. As a platform and delivered as a service, I don’t think that this is necessarily a traditional channel as much as a way for us to engage with partners to enable them to deliver valuable services to their customers.

CP: What were your top priorities when building your company’s partner program?

ES: When you look at it externally, we want to meet partners where they are. We want to provide partners with the training, the enablement and the engagement model that fits their business. And so really taking a step back and looking at what partners were looking for from Auth0 was ultimately priority No. 1. Priority No. 2 was building all of these capabilities, which I think we’ve done a pretty good job of rolling out over the past year in terms of …

… initial training agreements, the ability to allow partners to self serve through a partner portal; these are all components that we wanted to build, that infrastructure to support partners in a way that they felt was important for them to engage with us. And No. 3 is really advocating on behalf of partners inside of our organization.

CP: What are some of the do’s and don’ts when building and growing a partner program?

ES: The do’s are being realistic about what partners are looking for in a relationship with you as a vendor, putting our feet as the vendor in their shoes as the partner. And providing that value is really critical. Also, making sure that partners are protected is certainly one of those things that really matters, so ongoing communication, proactive partner management … and making sure our teams are connected from a partner perspective. I want my sales organization to be very, very partner friendly — that we built something that provides incentives for all partners involved.

In terms of don’ts, I would say the biggest don’t is creating unrealistic expectations for partners and even internally. Being realistic about what the value of our platform is and the value that the partner provides is really super important. Also, I’m not looking to bring on 2,000 partners over the next year and a half, so I’m not trying to boil the ocean. We’re a rapidly growing company with a ton of demand for our technology, and one of the things that I think about is … where can we make strong investments, and it’s not with touching 1,000 partners over the next 12-18 months. It’s probably in the neighborhood of 150 over the next 12-18 months. So when I think of the don’ts, you don’t want to be in a position where we’re overrun by partners and don’t have the ability to effectively partner with them. So being thoughtful and mindful about who we partner with, and to make sure that we have programs in place that allow for some automation, whether it’s for marketing capabilities, sales capabilities, presentations and technical training.

CP: What has fueled your company and its partner program’s growth?

ES: A lot of what we see is these digital-transformation projects in enterprises taking the idea that you’re not just an airline, you’re a software company with wings, as an example. A lot of companies are moving in that direction and trying to become more digital, and drive more digital experiences for their clients, and they’re focused on really delivering that digital experience. All of that is done through applications, and whether that application is a web app, whether it’s an Android or iOS app, identity is a core component of every application regardless of what kind of application it might be. So customers have the choice to either build and manage, and run their own identity platform, or they can look at a solution like Auth0. So I think our appeal to developers is certainly a huge factor of massive growth for us. We work really, really hard to get the word out to various developers in not only our partner organizations, but the developer community overall, and that tends to drive a lot of awareness and visibility, and a lot of business for us. And because of the nature of a lot of organizations moving into these cloud-centric environments, such as AWS, we feel it’s important for [us] to be really …

… in the middle of that whole process. So those are some big drivers for us going forward to grow not only our business, but our channel as well.

CP: What are the biggest issues facing your company and your partners, and what’s your role in addressing those?

ES: We’re doing really well, so when I think of issues … we have very large growth targets and we’ve done incredibly well against those targets over the last few years, and certainly that was a deciding factor in making me want to join this organization. But we have to continue to put our foot on the gas pedal as it relates to growth. So growth is something we’ve been really successful with, but it’s not easy. Growth at the continued rates we’ve been growing is a challenge, but it’s one we’re ready for.

What my role is in that specific challenge is really, ultimately driving partner influence, referrals and partners reselling our solution in incremental phases. So what we want to do is, and the types of partners that we work with, we work with platform partners like AWS, where you see our platform available in Marketplace … we want to identify developers in those ecosystems and buyers in those ecosystems to be aware of our platform and to be able to easily leverage our technology into essentially building their solutions with our technology and to easily allow their customers to buy.

CP: What are your goals for this year?

ES: I want to more than double our business from 2018 to 2019, and last year we did much more than that compared to the year before, so that was exciting. And this year we have a really good baseline for how to grow our partner business. I’d also like to be in a position where we’re doing a little bit more in some regions where we currently don’t a presence. Singapore is a place where I’d like to make some investments, and the Middle East is an area where we’re looking to make some investments. So to be able to be in a place where we have truly global coverage in our partner program is something that by the end of the year I expect us to have.

Finally, I’m a firm believer that partners are good partners to those that provide them the value that they’re looking for, and so we will be making continued investments to deliver training enablement capabilities, as well as pre-sales enablement training to our partners. So we’re going to innovate more on that and deliver a lot more there.

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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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