Riverbed: New Partner Program Driving 'Fundamental Shift' In Channel Engagement


Fresh off its global sales and partner conference in San Francisco last month, Riverbed and its partners say they are already reaping the benefits of Riverbed's recently redesigned channel program.

"The feedback has been overwhelmingly very, very positive," said Keith Hoskison, senior vice president, worldwide channels and strategic account programs at Riverbed.

Introduced in November, the new Riverbed partner program had two primary aims. First, Riverbed wanted to start rewarding and ranking partners not on their sales volumes, but on their ability to earn a new set of Riverbed technical certifications or "competencies." Secondly, the program is designed to incent partners to sell more than Riverbed's flagship WAN optimization products, especially as the San Francisco-based vendor looks to expand its footprint in areas like storage and network performance management.

[Related: Riverbed Shakes Up Sales Team, Names New Global Channel Chief]

To encourage partners to sell across the Riverbed portfolio, the new partner program segments partners into three categories -- Authorized, Premier and Elite -- based on the number of Riverbed technical and sales certifications they hold, rather than on their overall Riverbed sales. Out of the gate, Riverbed is offering four certifications: WAN Optimization, Storage Delivery, Application Delivery and Performance Management.

To reach Elite status -- which offers higher discounts and other partner perks -- solution providers must hold at least three out of the four Riverbed certifications.

According to Riverbed, partners are embracing this new model because they not only see it as an opportunity to broaden their own product portfolios but also feel like Riverbed is more invested in partners than it has been in the past.

"There has been a fundamental shift at Riverbed that is really focusing on the channel and the channel's engagement," said Michele Hayes, senior director, global channel programs and strategy at Riverbed. "Partners are feeling that. They are now being rewarded based on their investment."

Steve Inman, president of VistaOne, a solution provider and Riverbed partner headquartered in Atlanta, said the new Riverbed partner program has been "great so far."

"It recognizes and rewards the partners who have invested in the respective practice areas that make up the new Riverbed platform," Inman said.

NEXT: Pushing Beyond WAN Op