Acquista, who has had channel leadership roles at a variety of companies in the security space, comes in with a fresh perspective, for while Gigamon already has a channel-first strategy, they see considerable room to grow further.
Longtime networking visibility vendor Gigamon, which has recently been stressing the unique deep observability element of its business to improve their differentiation against other network infrastructure players, has brought in a veteran channel leader to further drive this objective.
Dee Dee Acquista has been named Gigamon’s VP of Worldwide Channel and Alliances. She comes from Mandiant, which is now part of Google Cloud, where she was VP of Channel Sales. She had earlier held channel sales leadership roles at Proofpoint, SentinelOne, and BeyondTrust. Aquista acknowledged, however, that her task at Gigamon is somewhat different from most of those that she has held in the past.
“I usually get hired by companies who want to become channel first, and that is typically my role, to help them embrace the channel going forward to embrace a focused set of partners,” she told ChannelBuzz. “This is a different role for me. Today, 99% of Gigamon’s business flows through the channel, which was also the case at ProofPoint when I was there. They have already embraced the channel, and they sell alongside partners.”
Acquista said that this strategy at Gigamon dates from 2020.
“They did a very big shift then, pivoting the organization to be a true channel-first company,” she said. “This decision was made even before they had to stop travelling because of COVID.”
Gigamon is in the process of strengthening themselves as a hybrid cloud infrastructure player, while at the same time maintaining their traditional strength in providing visibility and security to on-prem customers.
“We still have a lot of customers that like on-prem, and unlike some companies, we still ship appliances,” Acquista noted. “But many are moving to the cloud and so they want a hybrid approach. The cloud is newer for us, but it’s one of our top priorities today.”
Gigamon has a channel program, the Catalyst Partner Program, which was introduced in 2019.
“I think we have a strong program,” Acquista said. “We are moving into cloud and I’ve been trying to identity new partners with a cloud strategy. I’ve only been on the job for eight days, so only a limited amount of work has been done here so far. But we do expect to release an updated version of the Catalyst Program and roll it out in the second half of this year.”
The partner base is large, but the top producers are only a small fraction of that number.
“We have a lot of channel partners globally – the number is in the thousands – but the 80-20 rule applies,” Acquista stated. “Our core group of top partners numbers in the 50s.”
Acquista says that she has the advantage of being able to drive growth through having a fresh perspective.
“With the new set of eyes and the energy that I bring, I think I can help them hone the good foundation that they have,” she stated. “I also have relationships with security and cloud focused partners.”
Acquista indicated that Gigamon is currently in about 85% of the Fortune 100, but that they will be incenting partners to find opportunities to expand where it makes sense. Emphasizing the deep observability message among the partner base is also critical.
“We get placed in that network infrastructure box a lot,” she said. “But we own 68% of the deep observability market share, which is forecast [by 650 Group] to reach $2 billion by 2026. We have to do a better job of getting our partners to realize what it is, and need to get new messaging out there.”