Cloudera ramps up channel Go-to-Market as company goes private

Cloudera is looking to its new venture capital backing to intensify its previously designed strategy of increasing is channel presence, particularly as they roll out SaaS Cloudera Data Platform solutions that are key to their strategy going forward.

Gary Green, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Cloudera

In June, enterprise data cloud provider Cloudera announced they had been entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and KKR, and then go private, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $5.3 billion. The deal was approved on August 25, and is expected to close before the end of the year. Going private means that Cloudera will be intensifying its focus on the channel, particularly as their SaaS Cloudera Data Platform [CDP] solutions roll out over the next year.

“This gives us the opportunity to double down on our strategy,” said Gary Green, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Cloudera. “Our CEO and executive team had built a three-year strategy for product roadmap and Go-to-Market that was explicitly shared with our investing companies. It aligned very heavily with what they believed in as an approach as well. As a publicly traded company, we would have doubled down to strengthen our hybrid cloud offering, but month to month and quarter to quarter you are judged and somewhat constrained on investment as a public company. Our TAM is so significant that our new investors can help us double down on our public cloud strategy.”

At the same time Cloudera announced its own acquisition, they also announced it had acquired two small SaaS companies, DataCoral and Cazena.

“These two companies we acquired were small boutique SaaS ones,” Green said. “We believe it is better to buy these small companies and integrate them as part of our strategy of adding new SaaS solutions. The venture companies approved these transactions.”

Going forward, Cloudera will be intensifying its channel strategy as they expand their SaaS solutions. They presently have what Green termed a ‘couple of thousand’ of channel partners worldwide, with about 55-60% of their business being partner attached and the rest direct.

“We are agreed with our investors that we cannot service customers correctly as a direct sales organization,” Green said. “The move to go private will only advance our Go-to-Market strategy.”

Green stated that there will be major enhancements in the Cloudera Connect channel program.

“We are looking to get away from traditional metallic rewards, and reward instead for achievement of competencies,” he said. “Last April, our advisory council told us they needed to be enabled and trained to same level of competency as our direct people, so we made major investments in Cloudera Academy and more will be rolled out. By the end of the year, we will have new Cloudera certifications. We will also have new experiences in the Cloudera Academy which will be enhanced in Q4, which starts in November. Some enhancements have already been made in LMS systems, and more are on the way.”

The strategy will also involve bringing new channel partners on board.

“We will recruit a new set of partners as we release our CDP SaaS solutions over the next year,” Green said. “We want to reward those who bring in this new business.  We recently announced an agreement with Tech Data, but we aren’t looking to recruit 1000 partners. There will not be a change in how we work with the partner community, and we will continue to invest in the partner ecosystem, with evolutionary enhancements over the next six months.”

Marketing is also being stepped up.

“Marketing from a partner perspective is critical,” Green said. “As partners accrue MDF, we want to be sure it is used to generate pipeline, and not be a standalone island. We are enhancing our Cloudera Connect Marketing Centre with programmatic sales plays, and are improving things on a quarterly basis as prioritized by our advisory council. We are also making sure that partners are  fully integrated into field marketing plans we have, so partners can participate at a regional level in our direct programs. We want to make sure when we drive solutions through that we pull partners into this.”

Green noted that at the end of July with NVIDIA, Cloudera launched SPARC3 workloads with CDP into their private cloud-based offering, which was made available across their entire ecosystem.

“We came together with Dell, NVIDIA and our field teams, and we launched this at our event on August 5,” he said. “We had a three-way marketing session led by Dell that drove 250 customers to the event who could see the joint value. Doing this as a partnering event drove more value. We are making sure it is partner-centric and aligned with our corporate campaigns and field marketing campaigns,  to work together to drive this through the channel.

“We are talking with our customers, and for the foreseeable future, most workloads will remain in the private cloud on-prem,” Green said. “We believe CDP is the best data and analytics solution for private cloud, and we are taking that messaging out to the marketplace.”