New BeyondTrust channels leader Dee Dee Acquista talks strategy in new role

Dee Dee Acquista’s job has been expanded over that of previous BeyondTrust channel chiefs, to add alliances as well, as the company looks to take its channel business to the next stage of growth.

Dee Dee Acquista, SVP of Global Channels and Alliances, BeyondTrust

Earlier this month, Privileged Access Management [PAM] vendor BeyondTrust named Dee Dee Acquista as SVP of Global Channels and Alliances. She came from SentinelOne, where she had run worldwide channels. Earlier she had senior channel lead roles at Proofpoint and Websense, in her most recent stops during over twenty years in IT sales management. Acquista’s position at BeyondTrust has been expanded with her arrival. She recently talked with ChannelBuzz about the implications of this, and other aspects of channels strategy at BeyondTrust.

“We have had channel chiefs at BeyondTrust over the years,  but alliances is a newer piece of our business,” Acquista said. “We added it to my role to provide attention.” Those alliances include technology partnerships with SailPoint, McAfee and ServiceNow, as well as global systems integrators  and global MSPs.

“Karl Helle, our CRO, had alliances previously, and he made it part of my role,” she noted.

The previously tertiary position of the alliances business reflects the fact that Beyond Trust is a fairly new amalgamation of four companies. PAM vendor Bomgar, owned by Francisco Partners, used their cash to buy two competitors, Avecto and Lieberman Software, in the first half of 2018. Bomgar then completed the trifecta by acquiring BeyondTrust in September 2018 – and renamed the whole as BeyondTrust in the belief that it was the stronger brand. The new entity expanded the company’s range within the PAM space broadly, with Lieberman being particularly strong at the high end, and BeyondTrust being stronger downmarket, in the SME space, than Bomgar.

“With four companies of roughly the same size being brought together, there were a lot of decisions, deciding which partners and people to keep,” Acquista said. “The alliances business was important to only one of the four companies, but we have been growing that, and it has been very fruitful over the past year and a half.”

The PAM industry started out almost completely direct, but that has changed broadly over the last decade. Most of BeyondTrust’s business today goes through channel partners, although Acquista says the company still has a ways to go. Today, approximately three-quarters of their business is channel.

“It is below where I would want it to be, and we are working to get to 100%,” she said. “Different regions have different roles for the channel.”

Acquista said that the BeyondTrust channel today is broad.

“It includes large partners like CDW and SHI with a national reach, national security-focused partners like Optiv, and strong regional partners focused on security like Guidepoint and Presidio,” she indicated.

While it’s still early days in terms of determining strategy going forward, since Acquisita has been on the job for less than a month, her instinct is that no major changes of policy are needed.

“I’m still on the ‘look and listen’ tour,  but I have actually found myself impressed with a lot of things already in place,” she said. “ProofPoint was the same size when I joined it as BeyondTrust is today. We have a sizable group of folks focused on partners. BeyondTrust University is already in place. It feels like a much bigger infrastructure company.”

Acquista said that tweaking is the best word to describe the changes that will take place under her leadership.

“Tweaking is a word I use a lot – a subtle tweak,” she said. “There are good building blocks here, which have been developed with careful consideration over the years. But there are always things that need to be tweaked in growing an organization, to get this product to market with the right set of folks.”

Look for BeyondTrust to double down more this year on their top producing partners.

“We will focus on the partners who will focus on us, and who will find new Go-to-Market opportunities,” Acquista stated. “I’d like to reward those partners handsomely when they sell alongside us and learn to hunt and fish for us. This has always been my strategy elsewhere. When our sales force isn’t as big as those of the big companies it has to be more focused and honed. We want to dig in really deep.”

Acquista said that the present pandemic is creating opportunities for the PAM industry that will be long-term.

“Our product is very germane for what’s happening right now, when a lot of companies sent employees home on a Friday and expected they would be back soon,” she said. “People left their laptops on their desks. Our product fills an even more important need. The neat thing is that once we do get past the pandemic, the old days of what is normal is gone. More people will be working from home.”

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