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WPC 2012: Quest Adds Global Partners, Service Providers to Partner Program

TORONTO -- Quest Software, one of the largest providers of Microsoft tools, is expanding the Quest Partner Circle (QPC) program to include global partners and service providers.

After launching Quest Partner Circle a year ago at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, Quest is again using Microsoft's annual partner gathering as a platform for announcing changes to the program.

Michael Sotnick, Quest's vice president for Worldwide Channel and Alliances, said four global partners met the initial threshold to join, which included $5 million or more in direct annual bookings -- Accenture/Avanade, Capgemini, Dell and HP.

"There was a big group of partners that were excluded from the QPC launch because of their global status," said Sotnick. The original QPC consisted of Elite, Premier and Registered levels and covered mostly reseller, referral and distribution partners. "It's our hope that by announcing this, the response from others will be, we want in."

Quest's global program is complicated by the company's acquisition last week by Dell, which swooped in after Quest had announced a private equity buyout with a "go shop" period when it could consider other offers.

The acquisition closed after the QPC changes were set (and after Quest briefed RCP on the program). However, in a follow-up e-mail statement, Sotnick said he expected the global program to continue as planned, and that it would include Dell's direct competitor, HP, as a global partner.

"Dell is acquiring Quest as the foundation of its software business, so we expect QPC, including the enhancements we spoke about last week, to play a pivotal role in helping our combined organization drive global business growth," Sotnick said. "While the global partners we spoke about represent the initial group of partners to move into the Global Tier within QPC, they have been longstanding partners of Quest for years and we foresee these mutually beneficial partnerships continuing to support our respective, strategic business objectives."

The second new category of partner in the updated QPC is service providers, who use Quest's management solutions. Benefits of joining QPC for service providers will include monthly subscription pricing and quarterly billing in arrears. The initial group of more than 100 service providers in the program includes Apptix, Azaleos, NetStandard and Rackspace.

"The shift of spend that customers are making from on-premise solutions to a per-user/per-capacity basis, is a real trend that is here for the long haul. We've been participating in it. We feel now that we're ready with our infrastructure and with a critical mass of QPC partners," Sotnick said.

Quest's 4,000 existing partners will see a shift in the vendor's partner program specialization categories, which align to Quest corporate product segmentation that became concrete after QPC was initially launched last year. The six categories are Database Management, Data Protection, Performance Monitoring, User Workspace Management, Windows Server Management and Identity & Access Management.

Although only some of the specializations map clearly to the original seven from last year, Sotnick said Quest is going out of its way to preserve its partners' investment in training by connecting them to the new specializations.

"In just about every case, we've preserved the investment. We're an $850 million player. We're not a small company, but we realize we're not a megavendor," Sotnick said prior to the Dell acquisition. "We need to be very respectful of the professionals who have taken the time."

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.