Strong SMB momentum makes Cohesity first winner of SHI’s Emerging Partner of the Year award

Cohesity also met another key criteria for the award, that a vendor provide clear and consistent support to the channel.

Global solution provider SHI International has chosen hyperconverged secondary storage vendor Cohesity as the first winner of its “Emerging Partner of the Year” award. The honour was bestowed due to Cohesity’s 2017 sales increasing more than 500 per cent over the previous year – with those numbers accelerating every quarter. While SHI sold Cohesity through all their domestic sales divisions, including commercial enterprise, strategic enterprise, and public sector, most of the business came through their SMB group. SHI also wanted to give the award to a vendor they considered to have total commitment to the channel, and Cohesity satisfied that requirement as well.

SHI had not given such an award previously, and decided to award it for the first time this year because they are doing more business with newer vendors.

“We decided that this category has become a significant focus of SHI in the last year or so,” said Ed McNamara, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at SHI. “We decided that it would be a great time to start recognizing emerging partners at our corporate kickoff event, and that’s what we did.”

SHI deals with a large number of newer and lesser known vendors, but they really fall into two distinct buckets.

“In 2017 we interacted with over 16,000 companies on behalf of our customers, helping larger organizations manage IT procurement with lesser known companies,” McNamara said. “The relationship with Cohesity falls into a different category, however. They are one of a much smaller number of newer vendors that some customers are asking about, and already considering doing business with. That’s particularly the case in our SMB business. Most customers we interact with on their behalf are in our SMB Group.”

SHI started out with a focus that was almost exclusively on the enterprise, and it has only been in recent years that they have made a concerted push into the midmarket and SMB space.

“It’s really the last  5-8 years or so that we have built out to the midmarket and SMB,” McNamara said. “These kinds of emerging partners in the midmarket are a very good fit for us. We see the sweet spot in demand for Cohesity from companies in the 500-2000 seat range. That includes many smaller financial services companies and life insurers.”

Cohesity’s hyperconverged backup storage platform hit general availability in October 2015, and SHI began selling them soon after, in 2016.

“The 500 per cent increase in Cohesity sales is significant in itself, but what is especially notable is that every quarter it grew very rapidly compared to the quarter before,” McNamara said. “It was really speeding up at the end of the year.”

McNamara did not have detailed sales information – such as whether Cohesity is being positioned principally as a backup product, a hyperconverged platform, or both, or whether SHI is leveraging Cohesity’s new push to take the platform beyond backup into areas like archiving, with new capabilities for object and file storage. However, he said that at this point, the enormous amount of growth is the key issue.

“Over time, we will have a better idea how those use cases are developing,” he said. “At 500 per cent growth, it’s safe to say it is coming from everywhere.”

McNamara noted as well that Cohesity sales at SHI aren’t coming directly from the major legacy vendors,  but are incremental on top of them because of the growth in storage sales.

“A third of our top 20 vendor partners have very significant storage solutions themselves and they are growing as well,” he indicated.

McNamara also stressed that a vendor’s unabashed commitment to the channel was a key criteria in selection of the ward winner.

“Cohesity was also attractive because they are committed to supporting a strong and consistent channel,” he said. “We wanted to make sure the winner was really committed to that. Their senior leadership has drawn really strong feedback from our SMB Group.”