With its new Accelerate Partner Program, Gluware has built out new tools to drive more partner incremental business, services and automation, and has gotten into distribution with Ingram Micro.
Today, intelligent network automation vendor Gluware is announcing their new Accelerate Partner Program. This replacement for an earlier program is accompanied by a new partner portal, and updates and modernizes enablement tools to make it easier for partners to engage in profitable growth, including services revenue and an added focus on automation.
Gluware has been around since 2007, when they were known as Glue Networks. The company was then tied tightly to Cisco but provided essentially the same type of functionality it does now, limited of course by the technology standards of the time compared to today.
“Glue Networks was the first iteration of the company,” said Colin Henry, Gluware’s VP of Channel Sales. “The Go-to-Market of that iteration of the company was almost exclusively Cisco and WWT-focused. As the SD-WAN market matured, they broadened out their focus. The rebranding from Glue Networks to Gluware took place in 2017, when the focus changed to multi-vendor automation.”
Henry said that Gluware’s major competitor advantage is that no single vendor does that they do.
“There’s not a pure play competitor in the channel,” he said. “There are pieces and parts that cross over in vendor tools like Cisco DNA Center, and Arista Cloud Networking. None of them are multi-vendor though, and single vendor products don’t work well in brown field environments.”
Gluware’s sweet spot is Global 2000 North American-based enterprises.
“We do extremely well in highly regulated businesses,” Henry stated. “From a cloud perspective, we are very focused on the physical network.”
Henry joined the company in January 2022, and while the channel existed then, it was more limited in its capabilities and its objectives.
“When I joined Gluware, I was hired to build out a strategic channel with substantial funding from Bain,” Henry said. “At that time, while the channel played a significant role, it was primarily for fulfilment. I was tasked with moving from a direct sales focus with channel fulfilment, to a true channel-first strategic channel. Since then, I’ve been focused on growing that channel out strategically.”
Henry emphasized that this does not entail bringing in lots of new partners.
“We are not in a huge recruitment mode,” he said. “Our channel program that existed before was really focused on resellers, and those that could do some service work around us. What we go to market today with is resellers who use us in professional services engagements, much moreso than MSPs. Some of our partners are newer strategic regional-style players, as well as a couple of the larger organizations. They are companies who realize this is a disruptive technology who can add network automation to their line card quickly, and lets them repurpose their networking engineers. Our biggest competitor today is the DIY [Do it Yourself] market. In the same way that enterprise backup companies redefined backup by automating DIY scripts – that’s what Gluware does for the network.”
Henry worked at a channel partner before coming to Gluware and is familiar with the challenges selling to this type of market.
“When I worked with a partner, a lot of smaller growth stage companies crossed my desk, and with these smaller companies, defining for larger customers where they could be deployed was always a challenge,” he indicated. “We have major referenceable logos and have had them for years.”
While the old program had two levels, the new Accelerate Partner Program adds a third level, the Premier Partner Plus Tier, to further skill up their more advanced partners.
“The third tier reflects our maturity as a company,” Henry said. “Our two tiers before were basically for authorized resellers and ones who provided some implementation services. There was no real difference in rewards based on investment in Gluware.” Now the program provides progressive benefits based on partner capabilities as well as meeting ARR targets.
“The Premier Plus Tier also provides access to the Gluware Lab IDE development environment at no charge, to allow them to create custom integrations for customers,” Henry stated. “It’s easy to use, with a simple Java-based script. In the old program, implementation partners had lab access, but it was informal.”
The new program has a formal lead pass program that can be accessed through the new portal.
“The portal itself is a full- blown dedicated PRM package, which provides new tools like the direct integration of our deal registration with the Salesforce CRM,” Henry indicated.
Henry also noted that the old program had some overly complex features which have been dispensed with.
“We used to have multiple different volume tiers for end users which was complex even for us to understand,” he said.
“Another key tenet is that we are starting to work with distribution,” Henry added. “In 2022, we aligned with Ingram Micro’s Emerging Business Group.”
The new partner program represents what Henry termed a more mature way of dealing with the channel.
“Before, we were channel friendly, but not always channel first,” he said. “The new program has three key objectives. One is helping our partners drive more incremental revenue around GluWare faster. One is to provide more enablement to drive services offerings. And the third is to help partners to drive automation as part of their line card.”