Cohesity looks for select partner channel to do more

Cohesity has their first-ever partner council coming next week, part of the process of building out their channel, and generating more value from it.

Todd Palmer, Global Channel Chief at Cohesity

Six months ago, startup secondary storage vendor Cohesity lured Todd Palmer away from Palo Alto Networks to be their global channel chief. ChannelBuzz spoke with Palmer immediately after his appointment and found him excited about his promotion [he had been Americas channel leader at Palo Alto] and the chance to work at another young company in its aggressive growth stage, as he had experience both at Palo Alto and NetApp before that. At that point, Palmer was brand new to the job and light on specifics of what he would do, pending a much more systematic review of the partner ecosystem. Now, six months later, he provided an assessment of Cohesity’s channel progress.

“Over the last six months, since I came onboard, I have been unbelievably surprised at the reception we have got from the partner community,” Palmer said. “Secondary storage is an area where there hasn’t been a whole lot of innovation. Over the last six months, we have built out our channel team internally. We have actively recruited new partners, and created that internal infrastructure to build out to make them successful.”

Palmer stressed that Cohesity has a select channel model, and is not looking to sign up any and every partner who shows any interest.

“Our model is to have the fewest number of partners possible that will give us the reach we need,” he said. “We will not be overdistributed.”

Palmer also emphasized Cohesity wants partners who can evangelize the revolutionary nature of the Cohesity platform.

“We want them to see and understand the market opportunity in the secondary storage world, and who share the same excitement about the market that we do,” he said, “Just as we are asking our customers to change the way they currently manage their mountains of data, we also need partners who can communicate that value proposition with conviction.”

Palmer said Cohesity will use channel incents to bring this about.

“How do we make sure that a large number of engineers and architects in our integrator partners  understand our value proposition?,” he asked. “By incenting them to add value. We want partners to add value and we will highly reward them for that. If they bring us into an opportunity, that’s great. If they bring us in, and can demo and a do a POC by themselves, that’s better. We will reward them for that. We want them to make higher margins because that’s how we will get our scale, and continue our growth. We want a much higher percentage of our ecosystem to do those high value things, so we don’t have to use our own resources to do them.”

Secondary storage is undergoing a tectonic shift that partners need to understand and to which they need to adjust their practices. Palmer said that just as the security industry is moving away from a best-of-breed world where the customer had to knit together a myriad of point products, the same thing is happening in secondary storage.

“In the past, customers purchased multiple individual point products and created siloes of unintegrated technologies,” he said. “Secondary storage is moving to the same environment with an emphasis on integration and automation that we see in the security world. It’s very similar in removing siloes of storage is very inefficient.”

Cohesity is looking for help from partners in navigating this change, and to this end, is holding their first-ever Partner Advisory Council a week from now, between November 13-15.

“There are actually two councils going on at once,” Palmer said. “We have an Executive Partner Council and a Technical Partner Council, with 25 folks between them, and close to being split equally. We will get their feedback on our plans, and they may see things we may not have seen. We will get their feedback so we can capitalize on it.”