Extreme Networks targets new partners with new channel program

Fresh off its merger with Enterasys, Extreme Networks says its new partner program reflects the fact that the combined vendor is now a channel company.

Theresa Caragol, vice president of global channel at Extreme Networks.

Theresa Caragol, vice president of global channel at Extreme Networks.

Networking vendor Extreme Networks, fresh off its recent purchase and integration of Enterasys Networks, has announced a new Extreme Partner Network which they say reflects the fact that Extreme is now a channel company.

“In seven months, we have integrated the entire company, portfolio and systems, fully integrated it in seven months,” said Theresa Caragol, vice president of global channel at Extreme. “We are now declaring ourselves a channel company, and our sales teams are now being compensated more for channel business to reiterate this.”

The new program brings legacy partners from both Extreme and Enterasys partners into a single grouping, with a single PartnerNET portal, and a single global framework to simplify the way business is done.

“The philosophies of the two legacy companies were similar but they weren’t consistent across the globe,” Caragol said. “For example, in North America, Enterasys did not have partner services, and now all partners have global partner services like legacy Extreme had.” This means that now all partners in the program can resell the ExtremeWorks portfolio of services directly to their customers, or provide their own services backed up by the PartnerWorks portfolio of co-delivery services, which have the partner’s brand backed up by Extreme support.

Deal registration is another aspect that has been both standardized and upgraded.

“Before, both Extreme and Enterasys had deal registration in North America, but was spotty outside it,” Caragol said. “We have adopted the Extreme system here because it was stronger than the Enterasys one. All qualified resellers can register deals and resell services, and you are qualified once you are in the program and in one of the four tiers [Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond]. We made deal registration for all partners, even the Silver, by design, because we are looking for solid growth this year.”

Other changes include an enhanced campaign Demand Center, a new global Extreme Development Funds Program and expanded training and certification programs.

Caragol said that access to full technology and product portfolio will really benefit their partners, very few of whom sold both Extreme and Enterasys before the acquisition.

“There was hardly any overlap in the reseller base,” she said. “CDW was a partner of both, although they were bigger on the Enterasys side. There was a handful of regional resellers, and Tech Data as a distributor, and that was it. Of the top 200 customers, only a handful worked with both, and when that happened, it was a lot of one and a little of the other.”

Caragol said the new program making it easier to cross-sell will make it easier for partners to be more productive, which is a necessity.

“Previously, Extreme partners were basically selling switches, and they now have a lot more products they didn’t have before,” she said. “Enterasys partners have access to data centre products they didn’t have before. Platinum and Diamond partners can earn 5-10% in rebates with us on growth by selling our whole portfolio.”

The company’s new rules of engagement, with their sales compensation plan and commission plan, have been changed to reflect that Extreme is now a channel company. The new rules will be published at Extreme’s North American partner conference in Las Vegas next week.

“Our sales people are now being incented to drive business with partners, and to make sure they engage partners early,” Caragol said.

The greater channel commitment is also reflected in Extreme’s standardization on two tier distribution, with more emphasis being placed on Tech Data. Previously, it was primarily two tier in North America, but was a mix elsewhere. The distributors also were different for the legacy companies.

“Before, we had Tech Data for both, Synnex for Enterasys, and Jenne, Westcon and Scansource for Extreme,” Caragol said. Now Tech Data and Westcon will do Canadian distribution, with Jenne and Scansource being added to these two in the U.S. Synnex has been dropped, as Extreme is consolidating on one broadliner.

“Tech Data has stepped up, and they are increasing their investment in us,” Caragol said, “They believe we are a relevant company to help them grow their business. They didn’t have a strong wireless line before and are very excited about us.”

Caragol said while the new program is designed to make existing partners more profitable, it is also intended to help Extreme aggressively seek out new quality partners.

“We are absolutely recruiting new partners in [fiscal year] 2015, particularly among network integrators, and bigger SIs, who want another vendor to choose from,” she said.

“Canada is a big growth area and opportunity for us,” Caragol added. “Partners there should give us a chance, and try us out. We really want additional resources in Canada.”