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Riverbed Upends Program To Make it More Flexible for Partners

As Riverbed Technology seeks to seize on the new market opportunities of its expanding product line, the company on Wednesday unveiled a more flexible partner program to enable partners to move more nimbly into the new business areas as well.

Riverbed, which made its reputation on the SteelHead line of wide area network (WAN) optimization appliances, has been both acquiring and organically developing other products for software-defined solutions and managing application performance.

Key elements of the portfolio now also include SteelCentral, a performance management platform and control suite covering user experience, application and network, and SteelConnect, an SD-WAN, or software-defined WAN, solution. Riverbed bills SteelConnect as offering unified connectivity and policy-based orchestration for LAN, WLAN, WAN, datacenter and cloud, including optimization of Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

Riverbed's growth strategy includes selling SD-WAN and performance management products into  existing accounts, as well as selling the whole product stack into new accounts that are outside its current strongholds of large enterprises and federal government agencies.

"It is a combination of more enterprise coverage as well as mid-enterprise/midmarket," said Bridget Bisnette, Riverbed's new vice president of Global Channels and Commercial Sales. While Riverbed won't be pursuing the small business market, Bisnette added, "I think customer size is becoming a little less relevant because so many solutions are software-based and on-demand."

To help Riverbed's several thousand partners branch out into new businesses, Riverbed is moving away from the competency-based partner program style that is so familiar to the channel.

"One of the things that I've learned over the years building partner programs is the level of investment, and heavy investment, that partners are doing in competencies and accreditations doesn't necessarily result in success," said Cindy Herndon, vice president of Global Channel Programs and Operations and who worked with Bisnette on designing the new Riverbed Rise program. "They'll only use portions of that knowledge that they gain. We're making this program very flexible so the partners can get what they need."

The crux of the new program is the dividends that partners earn by winning business or by building capabilities. Those dividends determine a partner's level in the program and can be used at the partner's discretion as rebates to improve the partner's bottom line, converted to funds for business development or lead generation or used to cover training.

Riverbed officially launched Rise on Jan. 1 and will fully transition to the program on Aug. 1.

Posted by Scott Bekker on January 17, 2018 at 1:12 PM