SaaS-based Workspot is creating the new channel program specifically for cloud-focused partners, following the strong growth of their business this year around Microsoft Azure.
Cupertino CA-based Workspot, which makes a cloud-native VDI solution, has announced the launch of a new Cloud Consulting Partner Program. Aimed at Microsoft-focused partners working with Azure, it will complement Workspot’s existing partner program, which is focused on hyper-converged vendor partners and their channels.
“Over the last four or five months, our channel has morphed because of our relationship with Microsoft since the release of Workspot DaaS [Desktop-as-a-service] 2.0,” said Brad Peterson, Workspot’s VP of Marketing.
Workspot has always had a multi-channel strategy but a key part of their initial approach was hyper-converged vendors and their channels. This includes Nutanix, Scale Computing, SimpliVity and HPE, with their hyper-converged HC380 offering.
“The channel program established for that channel was like the difference between assembling a car in the driveway to go to dinner, by buying all the parts to get it going and calling on a channel who could help with that – or go to dinner by calling Uber.” Peterson said. “For the cloud partners, and in the new channel program, the channel role in providing maintenance is gone, and partners can provide value in more interesting ways. Reselling and services have changed in the new cloud world.”
“We are expanding our channel program, not dismantling or tweaking the old one,” said Hamish McNee, Workspot’s Senior Director of Worldwide Channels, who, like Peterson, came to Workspot from Citrix. “We aren’t ending our original reseller program. There are two separate programs and two separate partner agreements. Partners can participate in one or both programs, depending on their customer requirements.”
McNee emphasized that with the growing importance of the Azure cloud to Workspot’s business, an entirely separate program is needed to support that.
“With Azure, it’s a different model, and we need an ecosystem of partners with a different relationship with their customers – more of a SaaS style relationship,” McNee said. “The migration to the Azure cloud has created a huge shift in the market. The new program lets us find partners who can build a cloud practice.”
McNee said that in the original model with hyper-converged partners, Workspot provides the control and orchestration, while the partners provide the server, compute, networking and storage.
“That’s still a valid model,” he said. “But in the DaaS 2.0 model, we are packaging it as a compete solution for the customer to execute, with the server, compute networking and storage being in Azure.”
The compensation model for the partners through the Azure program is also very different from the original program.
“While the original model had traditional reseller compensation, in our Cloud Consulting program it’s more of a revenue sharing model, like Salesforce,” McNee said. “We build a client for the DaaS subscription. They build a client for the services they provide, and we provide a referral fee. They don’t have to know the complexities of Azure building, and the referral fees are incredibly generous”
Most channel partners aren’t typically thrilled with referral fee compensation, which McNee acknowledged, but he also emphasized that it better fits the nature of this market, and that the partner still retains control of the customer.
“Part of the process around referral fees is the maintenance of the subscription and expansion of services around it to provide ongoing revenue for the partner,” he said. “No one partner will have all the solutions to give a full packaged cloud offering. This enables them to retain the client and focus on services, particularly around the migration to the new architecture. It also takes away all the risks for the partners in working with the Azure technology, and lets them focus on cross-selling other services like DR or Office 365 subscriptions, or managed firewall.”
McNee said Workspot is seeing almost a 5-1 ratio from additional revenue through the DaaS platform being available to partners.
MSPs are a key part of the new partner base for the Cloud Consulting program, but not the only one.
“There are also the large integrators like Accenture and Deloitte as well as companies that do IT outsourcing,” McNee indicated. “It’s not just hosting managed service partners.”
While some partnering models involving MSPs have a ‘more the merrier’ philosophy, McNee also noted that this is not the case here.
“We do not want to have thousands of partners,” he said. “We want effective ones who are aligned to our strategy. We want partners here who have an understanding of Azure, and of desktop management services, rather than those who are focused n traditional storage platforms. It’s a shift of the value chain.”