Nutanix-aligned backup vendor HYCU remakes, enhances channel program

HYCU brought a rudimentary channel program with them when they spun out of Comtrade Software earlier this year, but now they have essentially remade it, making changes to strongly align with what Nutanix is doing, and adding the kind of features channel partners expect.

Junelle Swan, VP Channels at HYCU

Boston-based HYCU, which makes a data backup, recovery and monitoring specifically for Nutanix, and sells entirely through channel partners, has moved to better support those partners by announcing a new channel program.

“At Comtrade, there was a channel program, but it was much more information and wasn’t a fundamental core of our relationship with partners, as this new program is designed to be,” said Junelle Swan, VP Channels at HYCU. For instance, the old program had a very basic deal registration component, and didn’t have a partner portal at all.

HYCU emerged on the scene at the June 2017 Nutanix .NEXT event, when they were introduced by Comtrade Software as a brand, specifically focused on providing data protection for Nutanix environments, and working closely with Nutanix in a collaborative fashion to design their offering. Since their initial product launch they have broadened their Nutanix support, and moved into support of non-Nutanix backup within Nutanix environments,  to be able to back up everything within a Nutanix environment. In March, they also spun out of Comtrade to become a separate company, bringing the CEO and leadership team from Comtrade, and retaining their initial commitment to a 100 per cent channel strategy.

“That channel focus is in our DNA, and is a point of differentiation with some of our competitors in the marketplace,” Swan said.

While the old Comtrade program was a single-tier effort, the new one has two tiers, to differentiate between HYCU’s more transactional partners and those with whom they have deeper partnerships.

“We are partnered with Nutanix and aligned closely with them, and we wanted to design a program to complement what Nutanix is doing in the marketplace,” Swan said. “One of their approaches is that they have strategic partners where they go deeper, and we are taking the same approach with this program. It is designed with simplicity, with an authorized level and a more advanced level above that.”

The point of entry for the entry level tier, for partners just starting to do business with HYCU, is low, although Swan said that it’s still designed to protect and reward these partners. Deal registration is the key compensation mechanism.

“We had a deal registration process from Comtrade, but it wasn’t as robust as this, and wasn’t used as often,” she said. “Our intent is to promote and really use this program. It is the lever that has the greater impact for all partners. We also provide margin on a deal, but the deal registration provides more reward.” Swan said that the approval process is quick, typically a 24 to 48 hour period.

“The portal that we are introducing is our first, and we are very excited about it,” Swan said. “It is extremely easy to navigate. The partners were very specific about that. It has been in beta, and partner’s will receive their login information at the time of launch.”

Certification does not yet exist, but partner training does.

“The training is video-based, and is a three minute learning series with all the sessions three minutes long or less, said Subbiah Sundaram, Head of Data Protection at HYCU, whose organization drives partner enablement.

Formal certification is likely to be introduced at some point.

“This is stage one of a longer-term partner program, and certification is something that we are evaluating,” Swan said.

In terms of adding new partners to the program, the top priority is to make sure that HYCU is fully aligned with Nutanix’s key partner base.

“Good coverage for us isn’t a magic number but rather making sure we have coverage in specific geographies and are aligned with Nutanix,” Swan said. “If we need to add partner in say, the mid-market space in a geography, we will do surgical recruitment, but the Nutanix team has been gracious about introducing us to partners where we have gaps in our coverage.”

“We work in tandem with a lot of Nutanix sales reps, and we are aligned with their large partners,” Sundaram said. “We find out from Nutanix who their top three partners are in each region, and determine how we align with them.”

HYCU coverage in Canada is solid, led by Toronto headquartered Zycom Technology, which has won the Nutanix Canadian partner of the year for five years running.

“We have had great interaction with the Nutanix team in Canada, and have aligned with their top partners there,” Swan said.