Adaptiva sees enterprise MSP channel as key to growth in 2021

Adaptiva has been making their partner business more systematic since Doug Kennedy took over as Chief Growth Officer in October 2019, and while most of their North American business remains direct, the partner business is increasing.

Doug Kennedy, Adaptiva’s Chief Growth Officer

Endpoint management provider Adaptiva has been increasing their channel business over the last 18 months. That will increase further in 2021, as the company looks to further scale up their enterprise MSP business, particularly through the MSP components of large system integrators.

“We have a very aggressive growth plan for revenue, which relies on increasing the percentage of business done through our indirect business, particularly MSPs,” said Doug Kennedy, Adaptiva’s Chief Growth Officer. “That will include some parts of North America where they have good regional or industry expertise.”

Adaptiva is an IT management provider that serves the high end of the market, with their sweet spot being the global 2000.

“We are really in the IT management space, but the line with security is increasingly getting blurred, as the CIO and CISO offices are blurring,” Kennedy said. “Our team primarily engages the operations side of the house more than the CISO side, however.”

Kennedy said that Adaptiva doesn’t run into much vendor competition in this part of the market.

“We used to run into companies like 1E that we don’t see now,” he noted. “We run into very few competitors in upper end of the enterprise.

“Customers tend to use the free tools that come with the OS up to 5000 employees, and above that point is where we take over,” said Jeff Harrell, Adaptiva’s VP of Marketing.

Adaptiva developed and released two new products last year to accommodate the demands created by the pandemic and shift to Work From Home environments. Adaptiva’s OneSite Intune Edition addresses content delivery challenges by integrating its software distribution engine with Microsoft Intune, to allow Intune to rapidly and securely scale to hundreds of thousands of endpoints. Adaptiva’s OneSite Cloud extends the boundaries of the enterprise network to cover the entire internet, with full visibility and control over all endpoints, regardless of location.

“OneSite Cloud takes OneSite and enables it to run with some users inside and some outside the firewall,” Kennedy said. “Some significant engineering went into that, to respond to a major increase in as a lot of customers sent employees home.”

Kennedy expects both of these solutions will be major ones going forward, rather than just a short-term expedient.

“We firmly think they will continue to grow,” he said. “We know a lot of corporations were trying to figure out how to lower the cost of real estate anyway. Work From Home produced an interesting experiment in human psychology. Many companies found that they got just as much productivity working from home, with a key being the flexibility this provides. We don’t think this will diminish at all going forward. We are also on the road to being more SaaS enabled as well. So this investment wasn’t just to handle a COVID blip. It was part of our becoming more fully cloud-enabled.”

Kennedy noted that enabling products for the cloud isn’t that difficult because all the products are built on the same platform.

“Since they all sit on the same platform, it’s pretty easy for us to spin something up,” he said.

Adaptiva’s legacy business was direct, but three types of channel partners have been added to the Go-to-Market over time, covering fulfillment, reselling, and MSPs

“The revenue is approximately a third from each,” Kennedy said. “The product is actually simple to install, so they don’t make money off that.”

Most of the business in North America has been direct.

“The types of customers we work with in the U.S. and in places like London, often want to work with the vendor,” Kennedy said. “In the U.S. and Canada, it has been mainly direct. Our resellers there tend to be more the large global partners rather than regional partners. Our resell presence is much stronger in areas where we don’t have that presence, like South America and southeast Asia. The only major market where we don’t have a significant reseller on the ground is Japan.”

Kennedy, who spent a good chunk of his career at Oracle, ending there as VP of Business Development and Partner Strategy, came to Adaptiva 14 months ago, and began making changes to the company’s channel management.

“When I got here, we overhauled and modernized the contracts to make sure fulfillment and resell were properly standardized,” he indicated. “We increased the number of partners, and signed up quite a few, but we were very prescriptive. We didn’t want to set them up to compete with own field organization, or existing partners. If a partner’s main competitor is another of our partners, you have a problem. We also pushed out a few partners who only opportunistically dropped in.”

The entire Go-to-Market network, both direct and indirect, was also organized more systematically.

“It had not been prescriptively organized in a way that we had regions covered clearly,” Kennedy said. “We didn’t actually know what coverage we had and how effective it was, because we hadn’t treated partners as an extension of our sales coverages. We needed to do that to know our coverage gaps before we hired our own salespeople.”

Kennedy also deepened Adaptiva’s MSP coverage, something that remains a top priority going forward.

“We established strategic channel partnerships with large systems integrators around their MSP business,” he said. “Most of the large SIs have been trusted advisors for the Global 2000. They have influence there, and they have leveraged that to establish their MSP business.”

Kennedy said that this part of their business is growing at a fast rate.

“We work with some of the largest GSIs in their MSP business,” he indicated. “They are trying to consolidate and work with fewer vendors, who will tailor solutions for them specifically. We will continue to work more fully with these MSPs. It’s a highly complementary model to our enterprise sellers, these   enterprise class MSPs who want to establish us as part of their work bench.”

More work is being done with key reseller partners as well.

“We are now working with a handful of partners to put together joint marketing programs to drive demand generation, combining our marketing expertise with their marketing expertise to drive demand,” Kennedy stated. “We will do more of that in our reseller-focused markets.”