On-prem SD-WAN vendor Ecessa focusing on MSPs in move to channel model

Ecessa has been in the SD-WAN space for years, but only moved into the channel fairly recently, and first concentrated on telecom resellers. Now, assisted by new channel leader Leonard DiMiceli, they are focusing on adding MSP partners.

Mike Siegler, Ecessa’s CEO

LAS VEGAS – Most MSPs have never heard of Ecessa, even though the company has been in the SD-WAN space for many years, and believes that both their on-prem technology and their shift to a channel focus make them ideally suited for that market. Ecessa had a booth at the CompTIA ChannelCon event here to articulate their value proposition to prospective partners as they look to make strategic additions to their channel.

Ecessa has actually been in business since the 1960s, but really entered the business that they are now in in 2002.

“Before that, we were a legacy hardware company,” said Mike Siegler, Ecessa’s CEO. “In 2002, we moved to a software focus. At that point, we were focused on solving a simple problem – how do you manage multiple internet connections to get more bandwidth. We addressed this by building a Linux-based router that was extremely easy to use. That contrasted with the old way of handling this, which involved having to do BGPs [Border Gateway Protocols] and writing code. We were use- friendly and easy to manage.”

While Ecessa came to the channel relatively late, today it is their focus, which is why they were at the ChannelCon event articulating their value proposition that their premises-based approach makes them an  ideal SD-WAN solution for MSPs.

“We win in banking, health care, education and legal services because of our architecture, because we are router and premises-based,” Siegler emphasized. “A a lot of regulated industries don’t want to be reliant on a third-party service for this. We are all self-contained.”

A major hurdle, which they are addressing with their presence at the event, is that many MSPs have no idea who Ecessa is.

“We aren’t well-known in the channel, even though we have been in SD-WAN for many years,” Siegler said. “We are a small independent company, and we haven’t spent a lot on marketing. In the old days, we sold direct, so we missed the channel opportunity early on. During the last five years, we have focused on the channel, especially the telecom channel, thinking that was the place to be. We had some good growth there, and bundle things together as a recurring revenue play. However, our competitors also vie for the attention of that channel. We can fit the MSP model well, where they find a trusted vendor, and provide them as a  standard offering. That is something that doesn’t exist in the telecom channel, and we fit that well. We are really more of a high-touch shop, with extensive training around customer service, and more focus on creating referenceable customers than on shipping boxes.”

Today, while Ecessa still services their legacy direct market, the channel is the Go-to-Market strategy for new business.

“80 per cent of our business is channel today, but the new business is all channel,” Siegler indicated. “Our sweet spot is really the 1000-10,000 seat space. We talk to a lot of mid-size businesses that don’t have trusted MSPs, and we make introductions.”

The MSP strategy has been buttressed with the addition of channel veteran Leonard DiMiceli as Vice President of Channel Sales. DiMiceli’s hiring was formally announced in April, but he has been on the job for about a year. He has a long track record as a channels specialist at many companies, including small business-focused  cybersecurity provider MyDigitalShield, and specialty distributors Relyenz and Nuvotera.

“Leonard has done a good job at waking up the MSP part of the business for us,” Siegler said. “He’s an expert on the space. Our goal is to be the trusted vendor who provides MSPs with the technology they need as trusted advisors.”

Siegler said that their messaging to MSPs is that their technology and their approach both suit Ecessa well for the space.

“This is SD-WAN built for the MSP, and we emphasize the ease of doing business with us, including the ability to white-label us,” he indicated. “SD-WAN has a lot of capabilities and architectures and business models, so our business case is showing how we differentiate. We are tried and true. We guarantee our deployments. In the last two and a half years, we have had 100 per cent successful deployments – zero returned boxes. Every MSP and customer we touch is a referenceable customer.”

Siegler noted that while SD-WAN is now a fairly mature technology, it’s not that common in the MSP space, so there are lots of opportunities there.

“I run into partners every day who don’t know what SD-WAN is,” he said. “The response of many of those is very positive, and they want to know more about what we do.”

The goal is to build out a network of strong MSP partners, rather than just a a large channel.

“We are not in the hundreds of partners and we don’t want to be,” he said. “I would like to have between 24 and 30 strong, productive partners.”

Siegler noted as well that unlike some cloud-based players in this space, they play well in Canada and other foreign markets.

“We sell internationally, and our product can live anywhere because of its architecture,” he said. “We can drop into any country and connect to any addressing scheme.”

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