Prentiss Donohue, SVP of Partners and Alliances at OpenText, provides ChannelBuzz with a channel update, particularly around progress on bringing the newly acquired SMB channel into the broader ecosystem.
This week, at the virtualized OpenText World, the company is holding its Partner Summit. It’s not going to see notable channel announcements. Those will come at the company’s separate partner event next March 2-3. While the separate partner event is usually the forum for big channel news anyway, the timing will be ripe for that early next year because the full integration of the Carbonite/Webroot channels into OpenText is likely to take place, with more provisions for the cross-synergies OpenText expects to see between the traditional enterprise OpenText channel and the SMB-focused partners that came with Carbonite and Webroot.
OpenText acquired Carbonite around Christmas time last year. Carbonite, which started out in the consumer backup space, had successfully pivoted to B2B, acquiring several other backup companies, notably eVault. Carbonite had also acquired endpoint security vendor Webroot, with its large presence in the MSP space. OpenText made the acquisition in a conscious effort to expand its presence downmarket into the SMB.
“OpenText was really focused on the enterprise, and there is a whole different segment for SMB, where we wanted to be,” said Prentiss Donohue, Senior Vice President, Partners & Alliances, at OpenText.
The SMB solutions are managed in a separate SMB business unit led by Craig Stilwell, who came with Carbonite, although he spent the vast majority of his career at Citrix, in senior channel roles. Jody Guffey, whose background is in sales engineering, also came from Carbonite, and moved from the business unit’s sales engineering lead role to its VP, Channel Sales – SMB & Consumer position under two weeks ago.
“We are still going through those Carbonite and Webroot integrations,” Donohue said.
While the SMB solutions will continue to be managed separately, the plan is to leverage what OpenText sees as natural synergies with the traditional Opentext channel.
“We are having lots of engagement conversations with partners on the Carbonite side,’ Donohue stated. “There is a synergy that I know exists. We see synergies with our endpoint security and forensic products we acquired with Guidance Software.” That 2017 acquisition brought the present OpenText EnCase Endpoint Investigator, EnCase Endpoint Security, and EnCase Portable and EnCase eDiscovery, which OpenText sees as having appeal to part of the Carbonite/Webroot channel. They also are seeing interest from that channel in InfoArchive, which also came to OpenText in 2017, through the purchase of Documentum and related assets from the then-Dell EMC.
“We have found that we are able to open up conversations with products like InfoArchive with customers and partners we interact with on the Carbonite side,” Donohue stated.
“We are trying to cross-sell into different solutions, and we are integrating the channel teams that we have,” Guffey said. “From a product standpoint, we are doing some integrations from the common portal. We are also reaching out to the MSPs. Last week, my first week in this job, we onboarded 110 new partners.”
Guffey indicated that new initiatives are coming around the SMB solutions.
“Craig Stilwell and I are meeting later this week,” he said. “There are some things in the works, but they are not finalized.”
Donohue said that expanded cross-sell opportunities are meaningful because 45% of enterprise sales and 67% of revenues in Q1 came through partners. Those synergies also provide a way of dealing with the realities of doing business in the pandemic.
“The impact of COVID on our business has been a total mix,” Donohue said. “At a macro level, it’s good being in the software business. In some sectors, like energy and engineering, those folks are saying ‘call us in a year.’ Massive capital projects are out. Retail is innovating or dying. Those who didn’t have omnichannel before are already on borrowed time. Most importantly, we are finding that our customers, the senior IT influencers, their stock has gone up massively in the last six months. In the C suite, they might have been seen as a service bureau but that seat at the table has now seen massive influence. Their influence has grown up significantly in their own environments.”
Donohue noted that, somewhat surprisingly, it has been possible for the channel to bring in net new logos above the half million dollar mark – without ever meeting people in the flesh.
“We did get some of those in the last quarter,” he said.
While Donohue indicated that COVID had not changed any fundamentals of partner strategy around account coverage so far, there had been some tactical changes.
“Obviously, the impetus towards cloud resale has become ever more urgent,” he said. “We are working on a number of SaaS resale offerings so they can plug in to where we are going. We are looking to build more programs around cloud direction and strategy, with some select partners. We are having conversations with a few in Canada about this.”