Riverbed opens ‘gold mine’ for partners with launch of partner services toolkit around Aternity

Riverbed looks to enhance partners’ selling motions around SteelCentral with a new toolkit to show off the Aternity technology acquired last year to customers.

Mike Sargent, General Manager of Riverbed’s SteelCentral

SANTA BARBARA CA – At Riverbed’s 2017 Partner Summit here, the company made an announcement offering a partner services toolkit around the Aternity networking performance management solution that is now part of its SteelCentral platform. The toolkit is available as a managed services offering, and is designed to open up new conversations for partners around services engagements.

Aternity was a small but established Israeli company that Riverbed acquired last year.

“Aternity was a great addition to our portfolio,” said Mike Sargent, General Manager of Riverbed’s SteelCentral. “Most performance management has been from the inside out. It provides information on the application and infrastructure, but it misses the user – from the device. That’s what Aternity brings us.”

“If you’re taking a company to Office 365, how do you know what the impact will be, by user, by OS, and by application – even by device, given that different users may use a laptop, a tablet or a phone, said Karl Meulema, Riverbed’s SVP of Global Channels. “It used to be impossible to know how any of this impacted application performance. With Aternity, you can tell where there should be problem areas, including specific locations, and can also drive a lot of information from it.”

This includes information which directly impacts a company’s costs.

“Because companies were paying for a lot of software they were not using, Microsoft changed their comp system to reflect usage, not just licensing sales,” Meulema said. “Because Aternity identifies precise usage by user, by device and by operating system, it can tell you what’s being used.”

“It really provides a phenomenally rich data set, for which there are many different use cases,” Sargent indicated. “Line of Business heads who want to now if they are delivering the kind of experiences their users need and expect can determine if the help desk is just having a bad day with a caller, or if there is a big underlying problem. Our hypothesis when we were looking at acquiring them was that this could be a phenomenally powerful tool. By giving a broad view of what the end user is experiencing, showing what apps are being used and how they are performing, it provides instant visibility into triaging a problem.”

If Aternity made such a remarkable solution, this begs the question of why Riverbed was able to snap them up for $70 million.

“They were successful, and had a nice growth projection, but they were also a small company,” Sargent said. “They didn’t have the distribution to get to customers. In contrast, we have a well-established go-to-market capability with a partner base, so we solve a key problem there.”

Another Aternity problem is that they were a standalone point solution.

“They weren’t connected to anything,” Sargent added. “So while they could see what was going on, and find the problems, at that point they would have to throw it over the wall, and the customer would need to use their tool of choice to do something about it. We had the deep dive capabilities they were missing. Acquiring them helped to validate our strategy because as soon as this was attached to SteelCentral there was confidence they would have real value.”

Sargent called Aternity a gold mine for partners, and said the tool kit can help them mine it. While it has been integrated into the SteelCentral portal, it can be used very well in a standalone version, which is what the toolkit is all about. It is a managed service package offer providing three months use of Aterneity SaaS in a limited number of devices.

“It can be used wherever the partner has a services engagement,” he said. “You drop it on 100 laptops, so the customer can see how it works, and it lets them see what’s happening in their environment, The partner can then use this to begin their next discussion with the customer, and it elevates that discussion to the strategic level.”

Sargent said that there is nothing else like this in the market.

“Because there is nothing directly competitive out there, it makes this visibility a strategic weapon for you,” he told partners.

This initiative is part of a focus by Riverbed on improving partners’ ability to sell SteelCentral.

“Historically, there has been a natural selling motion from the Steelhead side, but with SteelCentral, there has been a bit more of a co-selling motion, with partners playing more of a fulfillment role,” Sargent said. “The selling motion is very different from Steelhead. It requires partners to make that necessary investment in training and certification, and when they do they see the returns.The toolkit can really light up partners’ customer base.”

Sargent called performance management through SteelCentral a truly transformational opportunity for partners. The market is wide open – no one company is above single digits in share, and the addition of Aternity’s technology to the platform gives Riverbed partners a decided advantage.

“Companies have been investing in business transformation for a long time, but with change, there’s pain, and they need your help,” he told the partners. “They are not organized to manage that end to end experience. 65 per cent of companies here are in fragmented point tool land. They need you to hold their hand, and help them get to the next wave of critical value.”

Sargent also implored partners to use the new Aternity capabilities to sell SteelCentral.

“Build Aternity into your products,” he said. “Upsell Aternity to your SteelCentral base. Lead and land with Aternity, because you can have some phenomenal discussions there. And for your Steelhead install base, upsell Aternity there.”

Riverbed has additional ways partners can use the Aternity technology coming – beginning within a quarter.

“We have further integrations with Aternity coming, that will really display its power,” Sargent told ChannelBuzz.