Swimlane formalizes channel program to drive expansion of new low code platform

Swimlane sees major new channel opportunities through their low code platform, including SMBs through MSP partners.

Mike Kay, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Swimlane

Swimlane has formalized their first channel program, with the launch of their comprehensive Medley Partner Program, which encompasses three types of partners – Technology Alliances, Advisory Alliances and VARs – with the aim of fostering greater collaboration between them. The partner program is intended to capitalize on Swimlane’s introduction earlier this month of Swimlane Cloud, a low-code SaaS based offering.

Swimlane is a SOAR [security orchestration, automation and response] platform, and the company was formed in 2014.

“This is our first low code platform, but not our first platform,” said Mike Kay, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Swimlane, who is responsible for the company’s Technology Partners, Advisory Alliances, and Channel Partner strategy. “Swimlane was formed in 2014, and we have been shipping product for multiple years now. The company was founded by former SOC engineers, with domain expertise in that space. We had a lot of intellectual property when the company was built.”

Kay said that building the new low-code SOAR is necessary for the technology to move beyond the SOC.

“If you think about SOAR in its traditional use, it has been to create efficiency and workflow automation, and it lived in the SOC,” he indicated. “In broader security organizations, the SOC is only one of many stakeholders – and those others weren’t being addressed by SOAR platforms today. We decided we had to expand the SOC and in doing that, we had to create two sets of economies. One was a platform sophisticated enough to expand into these new domains. The other was its being simple enough to handle that, including users with no technical skills. That led to our new low code automation and cloud offering. Our robustness from an engine perspective, rather than backing into the engine from the use case, also lets us scale into use cases, which was another genesis behind low code.”

Like the majority of SOAR vendors, Swimlane’s sweet spot has been in the enterprise, but they see Swimlane Cloud and its low-code engine changing that.

“Low code creates new economies,” Kay said. “It also allows managed services to be a route to market for us, which allows entrée into the SMB. Our target market remains the enterprise – but pull-through into SMB through managed service providers will become increasingly important. Low code also creates opportunities into manufacturing and airgapped use cases.”

The new channel program is for the better enablement of a partner base that already exists.

We have had a history of working actively with partners for the last several years,” Kay said. “We were predominantly channel-centric, and that was the genesis behind our program restructuring. We needed to rethink how we realigned our program strategy. We decided that everything has to be viewed as a continuum, not individual sets of collaboration. To do that, we wanted to provide a deep and wide program.”

The program had not been formally branded before.

“It had grown organically, and was primarily VARs, with over 40 of them” Kay said. “Where we are focused now is really enhancing the collaboration we do with our other partners as well, to create better value for our Go-to-Market. But we wanted to enrich the back end first rather than the Go-to-Market. By working with Advisory Partners, we are now able to take best practices and transform them into automation workflows.”

These Advisory Alliance partners are a combination of consultancies and increasingly, Global Systems Integrators, since their practices have been moving into advisory roles.

“They help create richer technology solutions with business value in mind,” Kay stated. “We are taking those offering and simplify how it goes through our Go-to-Market. That’s the subtle example of how advisory partners set this intellectual space.”

The Technology Alliances Program is around direct interoperability collaboration with vendor partners, and includes companies like Elastic and Recorded Future

The VAR partners are organized in a single tier.

“Tiering them is not our philosophy,” Kay said. “We believe increasing individual value to give maximum value for both of us. We do have two sets – the well-known bellwethers, and more nimble partners who have just as much value but not the name recognition. They all help is improve awareness around business transformation and transform that into something really consumable for the customer. We are not only focused on solution down approach, but have to simplify consumability. So we have created a sophisticated Go-to-Market model that lets partners reach selling effectiveness more quickly. We can quickly articulate through guided demos what would be of interest, then test drives and  proof of concepts. It lets partners get in front of customers faster.”