Mark Osmond, who came to Checkmarx from Veeam Software, talks about what he sees as the challenges facing application security testing partners moving from on-prem to the cloud, how he intends to make things easier for them, and other elements of the company’s channel strategy for the year ahead.
Application security testing vendor Checkmarx has taken an additional step in bolstering their channel-first strategy and improving the productivity of their partners. They have named Mark Osmond, who was most recently Veeam Software’s Director of the Global Cloud and Service Provider Program, as Checkmarx’s Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Alliances.
A persistent problem in making Checkmarx’ channel highly effective is that application security testing has been a fairly minor part of most partners’ portfolios, something that Osmond is well aware of and will address as a top priority.
“That’s why I’m here,” Osmond told ChannelBuzz. “Application security is critical to our business data and solving customer problems has been my focus. The channel in general has had difficult challenges in our space around application security.”
Osmond said that when he took the job he had complete assurances from the board, not only about the commitment to the channel-first approach but to the changes that Osmond thought necessary to make it more effective.
“I asked them what the company’s position in the channel was and where they wanted to go,” he said. “And I asked if I will have the full board backing. They said that they were committed to channel-first and had brought in a significant amount of revenue already.”
The Checkmarx channel ecosystem has a very different philosophy than Veeam, Osmond’s last stop, where the channel was huge.
“At Checkmarx, our channel ecosystem is deliberate – very focused and specific,” he indicated. “We started with a very focused approach, which reflected the fact that the majority of our partners are still focused on the traditional on-prem business. Our focus this year will be on a trifecta, however. One is these traditional VARs. The second focus will be on expanding and growing our service provider base. The third focus area will be to go after solution integrators who sit in alliance buckets. This includes GSIs, and also includes technology alliances like Cisco, Nutanix, and Microsoft.”
The company has a good Canadian presence.
“We have strong relationships with some existing names in Canada, like the Herjavec Group,” Osmond said. “A lot of the larger partners we work with in the US are also strategically invested in Canada. So we are well set up and equipped to deal with issues in Canada.”
A key part of the challenge Checkmarx faces is better enabling partners to make the tradition from on-prem to the cloud.
“My background is around transition,” Osmond stated. “I’ve seen challenges that prevent resellers and customers from making the journey. The ability of partners to execute on this is typically a mixed bag. Most traditional on-prem resellers do want to have a cloud strategy – but some of them won’t make it, for reasons relating to timing, infrastructure challenges, and sales force dynamics.”
Osmond’s task is to optimize those partners’ chances of success.
“It’s all about execution, but we have commitment from the C-levels to work together to roll out the strategy,” he indicated. “I want to provide a layer of enablement – white labelling for these traditional partners – to help them along. That will be a really exciting play this year to help them take their cloud presence to the next level.”
Another priority looking ahead is to expand Checkmarx’s presence on hyperscaler platforms.
“We want to roll out and expand across the hyperscaler platforms as we embrace the cloud,” Osmond said. “We have gone to market with AWS and will announce a further relationship with AWS. We also have relationships with the other big ones and are working on a relationship with the fourth big cloud.”
Increasing the general level of channel enablement is also critical for Osmond.
“We will also be ramping up our channel investment, including a growth in our MDF funds up front and a growth in channel rebates to inspire partners,” he said. “It’s so important to have a channel-friendly model in place.”
Checkmarx launched a new global channel program last year, replacing one that had become dated, and Osmond said that there won’t be any major reworking coming to it at this point.
“There won’t be significant changes in the program itself,” he noted. “It won’t be a wholesale transformation, but some enhancements to what we already do today. The big changes around the program is that infusion of our investment into the channel program. The level of investment is a massive change year-over-year and we will invest even more in 2023.
“We are pretty nimble in our ability to manage change,” Osmond continued. “We don’t have endless rules and regulations. My vision is to have one of the most flexible programs to work with. I’m extremely excited about how much fun this will be.”