BetterCloud's New Channel Chief to Build Company's First Partner ProgramBetterCloud's New Channel Chief to Build Company's First Partner Program
BetterCloud recently closed a $60 million funding round led by new investor Bain Capital Ventures.
May 9, 2018
In her new role, Cataldo will be responsible for the strategy, management and expansion of BetterCloud’s channel partner community, including resellers, services and distribution partners, across all the applications the company supports. The company provides SaaS security for applications such as G Suite, Dropbox, Slack and Office 365.
This announcement comes on the heels of significant momentum for BetterCloud. The company recently closed a $60 million funding round led by new investor Bain Capital Ventures, and closed a record quarter in 2017 with 70 percent quarter-over-quarter sales of the new platform.
“As our platform becomes more and more sophisticated, our ability to drive success for our customers through channel partners will continue to differentiate us in the marketplace,” said David Politis, BetterCloud’s CEO. “Emily’s passion and experience building teams and developing strong alliances with companies like Google will be invaluable to our business. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome her on board in this next phase of growth.”
BetterCloud’s Emily Cataldo
At Accenture, Cataldo was senior manager and part of the leadership team for its Google practice. Prior to Accenture, she was the director of alliances at Cloud Sherpas, where she was responsible for managing the global partnership with Google and a cloud network of about 40 ISVs.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Cataldo talks about her plans for increasing investment in the channel and providing more opportunities for partners.
Channel Partners: Why did you want to take this position with BetterCloud?
Emily Cataldo: I came from Cloud Sherpas and we were acquired by Accenture, so I’ve been in the Google ecosystem for awhile, and in my responsibilities working with Google and our ISVs, I got to know the BetterCloud team and I got to see the product, their customer base and really their strategy evolve over the past five years. The thing that’s always drawn me to BetterCloud is the culture here, the leadership, the product, the teams; all of that was really what made me excited and bullish on BetterCloud. And then it was fortunate that this opportunity came up where it was a perfect fit for what I was looking for career-wise and what I’m passionate about, which is building programs, building teams and forming strategic partnerships.
CP: What’s your take on BetterCloud’s current channel strategy? Are changes needed?
EC: Growing up in the Google ecosystem, BetterCloud always did a great job activating and managing the different services partners that Google had. They really focused on the boutique partners, and so they did a very good job at that and there are still contracts that have been put in place and some of the processes. I think with the evolution of the platform and the fact that now that there [are] multiple different integration points and connectors, and multiple different technology partners leading to more opportunity for these different channel partners, there is a need for …
… a lot of programs and processes to be built.
So that’s one thing that I’ve already started working on. We’ll be launching official partner programs and things that provide incentives for partners, training paths and enablement for partners, different types of systems and resources for them. As they’ve grown, BetterCloud has certainly done so much to optimize their business that I think we can do a lot for partners. So I’m looking at how can we take a new approach to partnerships, and really provide the tools and assets that they need.
CP: How will your prior experience with Accenture and Cloud Sherpas come into play in this new role?
EC: There’s a lot from those days at Cloud Sherpas being in that seat trying to manage the different types of partners and the different priorities of the business that’s going to help me understand what’s going to be impactful and relevant for the services partners that I’m trying to activate in these different ecosystems – Google, Dropbox, the different ecosystems – and what’s going to matter to them. I think then my experience at Accenture is relevant because that’s a very different type of partnership that they form. And so with these vendors, it’s understanding what matters and drives a company like Accenture or the other global SIs, how they form partnerships, what’s involved in that process and how you actually get the channel moving. When you think about these global SIs, they’ve got so many deep relationships with clients, but the route to market is very different from a small boutique partner in a lot of ways. I think the experience of being on the inside of both a boutique services firm, as well as being at a large, global SI and navigating partnerships with technology giants like Google, smaller ISVs in this specific ecosystem, and things like distribution … all of that will be helpful as we try to bring on new partners, and also re-energize and incentivize the existing partner base.
CP: Who are BetterCloud’s biggest competitors, and how do the company and its partners maintain a competitive advantage?
EC: Recently Gartner actually put BetterCloud in a category of our own. We are now in a SaaS operations management category and that was really interesting for me to see just how BetterCloud had evolved over the years to be now such a strategic offering for clients and such a necessity as clients move to SaaS technology. So it’s a new category and today we’re the first that’s in it. A lot of times we’ll have questions from clients around how we fit in with the different technology players and offerings, [and] whether that’s the cloud access security brokers (CASBs) or other types of security and management tools. And really how we look at it is there [are] certain capabilities that each of these different technologies will do … where we go deeper with following through with automation and policies, and the security element of it. So I think that when we are talking to clients, the work that BetterCloud does in enabling you to have management and security, and set[ting] up the right policies for your systems is what’s …
… crucial and what’s differentiated BetterCloud in this market.
CP: What sort of feedback have you received from partners? Have they told you anything yet in terms of what they want to see?
EC: I’m three weeks in this role, so I did start meeting with partners … and I’ve had a number of calls with the existing partners and also ones we’re forming partnerships with. And I think from our existing base, the common theme that I’ve been hearing is they all really have a respect for BetterCloud. I’ve heard from a number of different partners that the reliability of and the constant expansion of BetterCloud has been great for them, and is something that drew them toward this partnership and interested them in it. Our partners are really starting to see the value when they’re working with a client who’s using an implemented BetterCloud. They’re starting to say, “Wow, this really is impactful and important,” and it is going to become mission-critical for clients to manage their SaaS applications. We’re seeing partners now say, “OK, we want to do more with this,” so a lot of my introductory calls have been around partners really saying, We want to include BetterCloud as part of our services offerings,” whether that’s a security assessment and compliance type of assessment offering, or around SaaS implementations and management.
CP: What do you hope to have accomplished a year from now?
EC: There’s a lot that we’re looking to do. While the product was being expanded and rebuilt … there wasn’t as much investment in channel because it was really an investment and focus in product. We needed the product to be at a place where we could go and activate the channel. So what I’m looking at in my first year is to go and reactivate the wonderful partners that we have in the Google ecosystem. I want to have a program out there — an official partner program. I want to make sure there [are] new incentive programs out there, a training program so partners can go and get the training they need to both sell and service the BetterCloud platform. So those are all of the things that fall into reigniting the partners. And then I’d say really tackling new partnerships. So coming up with a process for vetting and on-boarding partners, and really being strategic about who we partner with. So by this time next year, I’m really hoping we’ve gotten into new ecosystems, we’ve built up a program, and I would like to have a team that’s managing these different partnerships, and seeing growth through the channel. We at one point were between 40-50 percent channel and that’s where I’m looking to get back to. So over the next year there’s a lot to be done to help our partners sell and provide services around BetterCloud.
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