Cohesity adds service provider component to expanded partner program with significantly more resources

Cohesity has doubled the amount of dollars allocated to their partner program, with new perks like rebates for sales to very large customers and formalized and expanded MDF. They have also established a model for service providers within the program, which provides mechanisms like consumption-based pricing suited to this business model.

Todd Palmer, Cohesity’ vice president of Worldwide Channels

Hyperconverged secondary storage vendor Cohesity has significantly expanded their channel program. The company has always sold entirely through channel partners. However, the enhanced program significantly expands the resources available, both through programmatic elements like MDF, and through significantly expanded field resources that partners can draw upon. Cohesity has also added a new component to the program specifically for service providers, which features elements of interest to this segment such as a fully multi-tenanted solution and consumption-based pricing.

“We have doubled down and doubled the investment we are making in our partner program,” said Todd Palmer, Cohesity’ vice president of  Worldwide Channels. “This is in response to the astonishing response we are seeing from the channel, which is huge for an early stage company like Cohesity. We see the service provider side as a massive opportunity, which is why we have added support for them. Our technology is perfect for this, because there are many customers who aren’t interested in a big data centre presence, who would rather buy Cohesity as  a service.”

Cohesity had service provider partners before, but without providing them formalized programmatic services.

“We managed them like a customer rather than as a partner making a big investment in Cohesity,” Palmer said. “We decided to change that, and that’s  why we brought David Kosman on board early this year as Head of Service Providers.”

Cohesity’s new service provider support model has a couple of distinct wrinkles.

David Kosman, Head of Service Providers, Cohesity

“First, Todd’s vision of how this should work is that there should be one partner program – not a separate program for service providers alongside a program for solution providers,” Kosman said. “The other principle is that the service program component, like the solution provider component, should be based on a value approach, not a volume one. Many vendors who sell through managed services partners sell to as many of them as possible. Todd’s strategy across the entire partner ecosystem is to focus on choosing just the best of the best. We aren’t looking to sign up every service provider or MSP we can find. We think it makes no sense to have hundreds of backup-as-a-service providers. We want to drive business to strong partners who provide a high value-add.” Cohesity wants service provider partners to invest in becoming a skilled partner, rather than simply reselling them as a service, with Cohesity investing in the partner in return.

As a result, only a small number of service provider partners were publicly identified at the launch. Both QTS and Faction have met Cohesity’s standards for delivering Cohesity’s solution as a service, which includes investing in Cohesity technologies and committing to offering their own differentiated IP through secondary data and apps services and support on top of the Cohesity platform. Accordingly, both have been awarded the newly-announced Cohesity Powered trust mark for meeting these qualifications, which they can use to differentiate their value in marketing to customers. Other service provider partners are coming on board, some of them very large, recognizable names.

In addition to the new trust mark, Cohesity service provider partners receive several new support elements, starting with a purpose-built offering for them, facilitated by the integration of the Cohesity platform with VMware vCloud Director to allow service providers to securely host multiple customers at scale.

“This is now a full purpose-built solution for service providers,” Kosman said. “While previously, our multi-tenancy capability was limited, we are now announcing full multi-tenancy capabilities. We also now have consumption-based pricing, that fits a pay-as you grow model. We have implemented a Success@Scale enablement program, which provides partnership planning to effectively productize the services, as well as co-design and go-to-market workshops.” Go-to-market support is provided with field sales support and proposal-based funding.

The marketing support provided to service provider partners is also reflected across the entire partner program, reflecting more resources being allocated to solution provider partners as well.

“We now have a formalized MDF program, which we didn’t have before, and it has four times the dollars that we had before,” Palmer said. “We have seen 85 per cent of our partners grow their Cohesity business over 100 per cent, and 70 per cent grow over 200 per cent. We think if we invest in them more, they will be able to grow even faster.”

Training and accreditation have also been expanded.

“We have completely rebuilt all the training and put it in learning paths for three specific personas or roles –  sales, engineering and post-sales,” Plamer said. “There are also three levels of accreditation for each group. This is also 100 per cent free – for instructor-led training as well as for Web-based training.”

The training is not a required component of program tiering – because there aren’t any tiers in the program.

“We do have a section of the program for purely transactional partners, but for the partners with whom we are mutually investing to build a business, there is a single tier,” Palmer said.

Financial incentives have been added for partners working with large accounts, with the dollars varying depending on the size of the transaction.

“We have targeted 2000 large enterprise customers in North America and Europe with large TAMs,” Palmer said. “We realize these have a longer sales cycle, so we are introducing very attractive incentives to close deals – up to $40,000 per opportunity on the back end. It’s also for any account in these 2000 named accounts – not just new logos.”

Cohesity has also established a new dedicated lab environment hosted by an independent third party company, where its partners’ technical staff can – at no cost –  get hands-on experience working with and testing the Cohesity platform, with assistance from Cohesity system engineers.

“Once they reach a specific level of accreditation, they get access to this,” Palmer said. “It’s something they can use for live customer demos. This was a massive investment we made for both our own and our partner SEs. The technical teams in the partner community are so very important, because we want customers to think of secondary storage differently, and we need technically savvy people to do that.”

Cohesity has also significantly ramped up its field sales coverage to support partners in all geos.

“When I started here in early 2017, we had 20 sales teams globally, consisting of a sales rep and a sales engineer,” Palmer said. “We now have 100, and will move to 150-160 before end of this fiscal year. It’s a massive expansion to help partners with initial engagements, which is completely aligned with partners.” In the U.S. and Canada, they will move from 58 to 97 sales teams in this fiscal year

Cohesity has also recently announced expanded go-to-market partnerships with key technology vendors including Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft and VMware. And Palmer also emphasized Cohesity’s commitment to strong base margins.

“In all of my conversations with the partner community, they say the margin they make on Cohesity is higher than on other vendors,” he said. “That’s something that we are very proud of. We want to make sure that partners are properly compensated.”