Xangati eyes managed services partners in channel program reboot

The virtualized performance management solutions startup has made unsuccessful channel initiatives before, but now armed with personnel and resources to execute, they are looking to enlist Citrix and VMware partners with professional services practices – and for the first time, MSPs.

Atchison Frazer 300

Atchison Frazer, Xangati’s Director of Marketing

San Jose-based Xangati, which makes intelligent cloud and workload performance management solutions for virtualized environments, is reaching out to solution providers, looking to build a strong channel which can drive new business rather than just handle transactional sales. In addition to their core channel audience of Citrix and VMware partners with professional services practices, they are looking to sign on such partners moving into managed services, as well as pure play MSPs and telcos. To this end, it has announced the Xangati XSP program, a new global channel program to show its commitment to these partners and provide them with support.

Xangati has been down this road before. Xangati XSP is really the third attempt in little more than a year to build a channel, and move beyond the direct sales that they, like almost all specialized software vendors, originally used to build up their business.

“Even though we had partners, we never really had a channel strategy,” said Atchison Frazer, Xangati’s Director of Marketing. “The amount of business done by the channel was minimal – not more than 35 per cent, and was mostly transactional.” It really hasn’t been a global channel either, even though they have over 400 customers worldwide. Outside the U.S., they really only have a presence in the U.K and the Netherlands. They have nothing in Asia-Pacific at all, and Frazer said they need to get traction in Canada.

Last year at this time, Xangati introduced a new channel program, to replace the weak and reactive one they had in place, and build a stronger partner base. Since the vice-president of sales brought in to run that initiative is no longer with the company, and since Xangati is launching a new program now, it’s safe to conclude that effort was not successful.

“A program was put in place, but the execution was not there,” Frazer said. “Now we have brought on board someone who can implement such a program.”

That person is Lauren Robinette, Xangati’s new Director Strategic Alliances and Channel Development, who is responsible for XSP.

“She came from Samsung [Enterprise B2B Mobile division] where she built a global channel for endpoint solutions,” Frazer said. “She was a good fit for us because she knows the enterprise and service provider markets. We have been mainly in large enterprise and large public sector, where VDI is more widely adopted. She gives us traction in the MSP field, which is a big green fields opportunity for us.”

Frazer said that Xangati’s technology is a major plus for them. They provide real-time performance intelligence, which isn’t siloed, and which doesn’t use agents.

“We are in a mature, crowded marketplace with dozens of performance management solutions, which means you have to have differentiated technology,” Frazer said. “The good news for us is that most of these are siloed. Many aren’t in real time – they tell you what happened five minutes ago. We are more granular, which is a key way we are differentiated. Our partners can do a health assessment of a customer’s entire virtual infrastructure in two days or less after they install us.”

Frazer acknowledged that even though Xangati has stepped up its game with the channel by making investments in Robinette’s new positon, as well as in new tools around Salesforce.com and Channeltivity [Partner Relationship Management solutions], simply building the new program does not mean that partners will come.

“We made some significant investments, but these are really just table stakes,” he said. “The channel wants to hear a compelling reason why they should build a practice around Xangati.”

Frazer believes the channel is better able to see Xangati’s value now than a year ago.

“The channel is way more mature and sophisticated now about these kinds of analytics tools,” he said. “A year ago most were in fire-fighting reactive modes. Accepted best practices now are that if you aren’t using a holistic real-time tool, you lose visibility. We have a proven, field-tested product for this.”

Xangati is partnered with both Citrix, which is an investor in the company, and VMware, although they also compete with VMware’s vRealize cloud management platform for vSphere.

“Our core channel partner is a market maker in virtualization who is supporting a Citrix or VMware environment and wants a performance management tool to build a professional services practice around,” Frazer said. “We support both VMware and Citrix, and for partners who are heterogeneous, and support both as well, we are the best solution. vSphere is highly fragmented for performance management, and we are the best performance management tool for Citrix.”

The emphasis on market makers with a consultative business is top priority.

“We need market maker channel partners, because as a startup competing against folks like VMware we need to scale a lot faster,” Frazer said. “Xangati is a consultative sale, not a transactional one. We want to work with partners who are making a market, who already have customer relationships they are supporting, and who want to make sure they get their infrastructure investments right.”

Xangati is also looking to recruit a new type of partner from them – MSPs and telcos.

“We have never focused on that before,” Frazer said. “Some of these will have strong professional services practices and aspire to build out a hybrid cloud managed service capability. They can run us from multiple clients through one dashboard and operate performance monitoring-as-a-service. We also think the pure MSP channel will gain us a lot more global traction. We are moving to subscription-based licensing which we think will give partners a better opportunity. Later this year, we will add things to our platform that will make us much more attractive here.

“There’s a lot of headroom in this market,” Frazer said. “We just need to broaden our reach.”