The program’s new name is a play on their newly introduced Vantage SaaS solution, but more than the name is new, as the previous largely ad hoc program has been replaced by a more structured format.
Nozomi Networks, an OT company which has embraced IT to deliver IoT security, has announced its new ADVantage Partner Program. While the company had a channel program before, the changes from it are so significant that this is fundamentally a brand new program.
“When I joined Nozomi seven months ago, we had a partner program, but it really existed more on paper,” said Ivan Foreman, Senior Director of Global Channel Sales at Nozomi Networks. “There were lots of tiers. There wasn’t really a proper deal registration process, as it was too weak to make any difference. There was also no real breakdown of benefits. The program was more of a rough outline of what a program was. We have simplified the tiering structure, significantly increased the deal registration margin, and offered additional benefits and training levels, all of which make this a serious program.”
The ADVantage Partner program is much better fleshed out, and while the benefits are weighted heavily toward top producing partners, the deal registration system in particular has been remade to allow entry level partners who bring in deals the ability to compete successfully with top tier partners.
“The benefits overall are heavily skewed for partners who do a lot of business with us, and they get access to the best discounts, but we have also more than doubled the deal reg margin,” Foreman said. “In the old program, it was hard for the lower tiers to compete, and it was impossible for the entry level tier to compete at all, because the deal reg was so low. We have more than doubled the deal reg, to place a big emphasis on rewarding and protecting those who bring us into new opportunities. Now they can all get in the game.”
While the previous program had four tiers, the new one has three – Authorized, Gold and Platinum.
“They are based on a combination of revenue on an annual basis, on pipeline, and on the different levels of certification,” Foreman indicated.
The certifications have been considerably beefed up.
“Before we only had technical certification, and only one level of that, which was geared solely to service delivery and implementation,” Foreman said. “Now we have added a sales certification, and an additional level of technical certification, for pre-sales.”
Another new feature is partner-exclusive demo accounts of Nozomi Networks’ flagship SaaS product Vantage for both OT and IoT environments. Vantage, which Nozomi now leads with, officially launched in March following a Q4 beta.
“Vantage has been a complete game changer for us as a business,” Foreman said. “It gives partners the ability to offer managed services around Nozomi. That’s a key differentiator for us in the market, because it lets customers manage their OT environments in the cloud. Not every OT customer is ready for that, but some are.”
Nozomi has a fairly complex channel, made up of a blend of both IT and OT partners.
“The balance of partners between IT and OT is very different depending on the region, although globally it does tend to be about a 50-50 ratio between them,” Foreman noted. “The more mature markets are dominated by IT companies which have adapted IT as part of their portfolio. Other areas like Africa and LatAm is much more dominated by OT partners.”
Nozomi’s partners fall into several basic groups. One is traditional ICS [Industrial Control Systems] companies from the OT sphere, who remain of great importance to Nozomi.
“There are also traditional IT security vendors, telcos, GSIs who want to add OT, and some GSIs who are more on the consultancy side,” Foreman said. “There are also niche players – regional based OT integrators, who are becoming more and more important to us.”’
Nozomi uses distribution for their delivery mechanisms with their IT partners. In North America and EMEA, they use Exclusive Networks. Westcon/SYNNEX handles them in LatAm.
“Hardware is still a big part of our business, so shipping and logistics is important,” Foreman said.