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Progress Report: Quest Software Channel Program Revamp

Quest Software has most of its strategic partners converted to managed status after a significant revamp of its channel program four months ago, the company's top channel executive says.

In an interview this week, Michael Sotnick, vice president, Worldwide Channel and Alliances for Quest, provided an update on Quest Partner Circle (QPC).

Quest launched QPC in July at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference to unify its channel programs, many of which were inherited from multiple acquisitions. Given the company's Microsoft-heavy tools portfolio, many of Quest's 4,000 channel partners are also Microsoft partners.

One of the major changes was to create a three-tier network, consisting of Elite, Premier and Registered partners. Partners in the top two tiers, Elite and Premier, have dedicated account management from Quest. "About 600 to 650 of our total partners have moved over to a managed partner status," Sotnick said. Of those, about 200 or so are Elite and roughly 400 are Premier.

Altogether, managed partners account for about 15 percent of Quest's partner community, which Sotnick said is about right.

"We see those numbers growing modestly. Maybe instead of 15 percent as managed partners, that may go up to 16-17 percent," Sotnick said. "Much more important, we have started the direct-engagement with those partners. We are much more centered on value and intimate planning relationship with valued partners than we are on number of partners."

That partner-by-partner planning should help Quest work toward another of its goals with the unified partner program -- getting partners to sell more of Quest's product lines.

In addition to products Quest developed internally, the company has added products over the years with acquisitions of ScriptLogic, NetPro, Aelita Software, BakBone, MessageWise, Vintela, Provision Networks, PacketTrap Networks, PassGo, Vizioncore, Fast Lane, Foglight, Surgient, Wingra Technologies, Volcker Informatik AG and Toad.

The acquisitions are ongoing -- just last month Quest acquired ChangeBASE, a U.K.-based automated application analysis company that Quest executives believe will help strengthen Quest's already large migration portfolio for Windows 7 and later Windows 8 migrations in the increasingly multi-platform corporate environment.

In planning meetings and at Quest's recently concluded North American partner conference, Sotnick said Quest is already seeing increasing interest from existing partners in broadening the products they represent in two main areas. "Partners who have come into the Quest Partner Circle from outside our core Windows migrations portfolios have an appetite to get into migration and Windows management," Sotnick said. "Longstanding partners in Windows management and migration have indicated that identity and access management is the most likely area where they're going to invest next."

Posted by Scott Bekker on November 17, 2011 at 11:58 AM