Channeling the channel: Focus on simplicity and education
This week, CRN released their list of 2016 Channel Chiefs – a distinct list of executives who execute and deliver strategies to their business’ channel program and continuously strive to drive innovation and growth – both for their organization and within the partner community. I had the honor of being named to this list, representing the fine work that the team at Pulse Secure has done in building and maintaining the tremendously effective and thriving channel program – Pulse Secure Connect Now.
We’ve all heard this statement before, but in the mobile security space it rings true every day – the end-customer’s needs are increasingly dynamic. Now, with the rise of cloud technology, both customers and partners are taking a step back – not because they don’t understand its value, but because it opens up a whole new can of worms in terms of implementing technology and services. And above all else, the user experience is so important and takes on a different meaning that goes well beyond the IT department.
In a complex and evolving security ecosystem, vendors need a wakeup call. The focus needs to be on solving problems and simplifying technology – starting with the partner community. All of that is easy to say and very difficult to accomplish. The technology exists to provide secure access to any customer environment, but the road to get there can be needlessly complicated.
With the Pulse Secure Connect Now partner program, we’ve taken that to heart and made simplicity a part of our DNA. We work side-by-side with our partners to ensure that all the tools and technology are in place to effectively sell to customers. We focus on competencies, rather than certifications, to measure the qualifications of our partners. There is still a place in all channel programs for certifications, however it is no longer the best proxy. Nothing beats a one-on-one conversation with the partner where you can discuss customer pain points and real-world capabilities. We’ve also leaned heavily on our distribution channel – a tremendously visionary group that has allowed us to work with all of our partners and help us grow as a program.
As such, we have seen an evolution in our program since its launch in June 2015. The response has been overwhelming – not just in the number of partners we’ve signed up, but in the action that each of them have taken. Our partners aren’t just looking to bolster their portfolios, they are looking to register and close deals.
I haven’t mentioned the CRN Channel Chief recognition throughout this post because I am frankly not a person who likes to shine light on an individual accomplishment. It is a tremendous honor, but one that would not be possible if it weren’t for the hard work and no holds barred attitude of our internal team, our partners and our distributors.
There are still many challenges ahead for vendors when it comes to providing secure access for the next generation, however we’ve taken a “back to basics” approach, focused on simplicity and education that has helped end-customers solve the greatest challenges that they will face.