SOAR vendor Siemplify brings in Bradd Barmettler as first global channel chief to execute transition to partner-led model

Barmettler’s planned initiatives include a major revamp of the Siemplify channel program. He also wants to build out a channel presence in Canada, where he has had success in the past at other companies.

Bradd Barmettler, global head of channel, Siemplify

SOAR [security orchestration, automation and response] vendor Siemplify has announced the appointment of Bradd Barmettler as their first global head of channel. Barmettler is tasked with building up Siemplify’s channel business, as the company transitions in the new year to a model which will send new business through channel partners. Barmetter was most recently director of Americas’ channel sales at cybersecurity vendor Carbon Black. Previous to that, he had channel management roles at Cisco, Sourcefire, Symantec, Secure Computing, TippingPoint, Juniper Networks, and Network Associates.

Siemplify is a startup which launched in 2015 and just completed their $14 million series B round in July.

“The three founders came out of the Israeli defense industry and worked as trainers in the SIEM space, training SOCs around the world,” Barmettler said. “They found that there really needed to be a tool to help the analysts do something with the alerts, because teams weren’t getting to 100 per cent of them. They concluded that a product needed to be built to allow SOC analysts to go back and do research automatically, because they worked through a very manual process that took a lot of time. There was also no case management in the SOC, so at the end of shift in North America, when they needed to pass stuff over to Europe, the staff was doing it by sending emails with the information.”

Siemplify was created to build out that product.

“They decided to build something that wasn’t a tool, but a workbench to help SOC analysts, which would have that key automation component,” Barmettler noted. “It would have the ability to run playbooks and best practices on how to resolve a problem, and you can build playbooks without having to know how to program Linux. The workbench would contain a case management capability. Another significant component was clustering. Traditionally, if a firewall saw malware, a SIEM with standard anti-virus would give multiple different alerts. With the clustering, everything is now given to one analyst so you don’t have three people chasing the same problem. This also clarifies how many alerts a day an analyst can look at, which helps justify the SOC analyst.”

The customers fall into two big buckets.

“One is MSPs, and we have done very well on the MSSP side of the house,” Barmettler said. “They see the ROI, with SOC analysts being able to look at 2 to 3 times more alerts each day. In the commercial space, the market is anyone with a SOC – so mid to large enterprises.”

Siemplify started out selling direct. They launched a partner program in the U.S. in early 2016, before they expanded into the MSSP market and into the EMEA region in 2017. Today the amount of business generated by the channel through their own leads is fairly small, although Barmettler said they are looking to double it in 2019. Siemplify is moving to a channel model, in which new end user sales will be routed through the channel, even though most of those leads are still likely to be generated by Siemplify’s internal sales team.

“Today about 12 per cent of our business is generated by the channel, although I would like to see that get to 20-25 per cent in 2019,” Barmettler said. “It will take time to ramp that up, as we bring in more partners in in Q1 and Q2.”

The desire to increase the percentage of sales partners generate is related to the decision to change the business model to direct new sales through partners.

“In January, we are going to a channel model, where all end user sales will be pushed through a channel model,” Barmettler said. “There are some legacy customers who will want to stay direct, so we are shooting for a 90 per cent success rate.”

The plan is to keep the channel relatively select.

“We have about 15 partners worldwide today,” Barmettler said. “We expect to expand that but will be selective. We really want partners who sell to end users with SOC operations. We would be ill-advised to ramp up partners who don’t sell into this market.”

The MSSP market today is about 40 per cent of Siemplify’s revenues, and Barmettler said that they expect to see this business grow through the channel.

Barmettler indicated this decision to transition to a channel model had been made before he came on board.

“I’m very impressed with the senior executives here,” he said. “They see the power of the channel. They had already made the decision, because  they all see the channel as necessary for success for this organization in extending the sales force. These executives have been super-supportive of the changes proposed.”

These changes begin with significantly revamping the reseller program, which Barmettler said is still fairly immature compared to the company’s vendor alliance program.

“The program will be revamped, to put the right systems in out of the gate to support partners as we bring them on,” he emphasized. “The program will be global and it will be partner-first. I’m making sure that we are margin heavy, with deal registration with deeper discounts. We will also emphasize margin transparency. The challenge in software sales is that 50-90 per cent of sales are street priced below a profitable level, so the partner gets squeezed by ad hoc margins. We are showing partners what margins they can expect, and I expect it will be 20-25 per cent.”

Barmettler indicated that he is also putting an enablement plan together.

“I am getting budget for a portal, MDF and spiffs, and putting in place training that will teach partners how to do demos and Proof of Concepts,” he stated. “We will also work with partners so they can deliver these. It’s a great professional services opportunity.”

A referral program will also be put in place to bring in leads to the organization from consultants who can’t transact business, as well as from other resellers who don’t want to commit to a partner relationship, but who are happy to do a deal.

Today, Siemplify doesn’t have any Canadian-based partners, but Barmettler indicated he is expecting that to change.

“I’ve had a lot of success in Canada at Tipping Point, Sourcefire, Cisco and Carbon Black,” he said “Many organizations don’t understand the Canadian market and the value that it brings. I will be reaching out in mid-December to partners Ive worked with in Canada, as well as to large ones like Deloitte and Telus.” Softchoice is another partner of significance that Barmettler would like to work with.

“We are looking to have a road show in Canada next year, in Q3 or Q4,” he said.