Climb Channel Solution Provider Executives in Partnerships, Expansion and VMware/Broadcom

“When we look at things like what’s happening with VMware, if you have your partnership with VMware, great, we’re not here to completely replace that,” says Christie Kanen, Canadian channel manager at Scale Computing. “We’re understanding what’s happening in the market and the trends and understanding that customers want options.”

From partner enablement to improving security offerings to being another VMware alternative, seven executives from vendors selling through Climb Channel Solutions discuss how they’re doubling down in the channel.

Vendor executives took the stage at Climb’s partner conference in Birmingham, Alabama this week to discuss a range of topics in front of a packed room of MSPs.

The panels were moderated by Carlos Rodrigues, VP of Sales, Climb’s Canadian and US Vendor Manager Team; and Sarah Peters, Director of National Alliances at Climb.

Panelists included Rick Fredrickson, director of global channels at Canonical; Shane Popham, Director of Channels, OpenText; Phil Trickovic, Senior Vice President, Tintri; DNS Filter Partner Evangelist Mikey Pruitt; Craig Pfister, Global Vice President of Sales Engineering at Kiteworks; Christie Kanen, Canadian Channel Manager, Scale Computing;

and Leslie Lorenco, vice president of global channel sales at Security Compass.

We’re not just pushing the product, Popham said. We are helping to solve global challenges unique to different industries.

Popham even talked about AI and how OpenText is helping partners leverage the technology.

Having great AI means great information, he said. We have a big drive to enable artificial intelligence in all organizations because it will become mainstream. Things will evolve and become automated, so we need to be ready. We’re securing the AI ​​and securing all that information to make sure there’s no breach.”

When it comes to working with partners, Scale Computing’s Kanen said it’s about a mutual relationship.

It’s not the partner dictating things and it’s not us dictating things, it’s really understanding the business model between both companies, understanding what the go-to-market strategies are and what your customers need at the end of the day, he said .

And that has recently influenced the channel transformation involved in Broadcom’s November 2023 acquisition of VMware for $61 billion.

When we look at things like what’s happening with VMware, if you have your partnership with VMware, great, we’re not here to completely replace that, Kanen said. We’re understanding what’s happening in the market and trends and understanding that customers want options. It’s about making sure we understand what that go-to-market strategy is, but also understanding that at the end of the day we know that [MSPs] they are the ones being trusted by your client to be these consultants.

See what vendors had to say about a range of topics, including customer issues, being an ideal partner, and helping MSPs grow their business.

Tintris Trickovic on the most important customer pain points

The answer is the VMware-Broadcom mess. This over the past four months has dominated market conversations. There is also confusion around AI and how it provides a training model that actually adds real value to the business. So those two things I would say are the most important. We are starting to see some of these LLMs (large language models) and other associated training models develop and they are very chaotic and disorganized. Obviously, it will be freezing and it will be a very beautiful world in the future. Legacy architectures are beginning to fall. Traditional architectures don’t really work efficiently in these new stacks that are emerging, so we’re very focused on that and providing clarity.

OpenText’s Popham on Partner Consolidation Issues

What customers say is, “I have 100 different cyber products.” I don’t know what they all do. Can you help me understand? Are there other ways to simplify this? Can I join or can I get rid of something? Can I work with partners to help provide services to link them together?’

Canonical’s Fredrickson on using the channel to resolve end-customer issues

There are several ways that channel companies can help a company like ours. It could be demand generation, sales efforts, delivery services, first-tier support, managed service providers, or all those other things in between. We talked to our partners and put it out there and said, “We’re in this matrix.” What is most relevant to you and your partners and how do you support them?’

of Tintri Trickovic about partners looking to expand into emerging markets

We are looking for partners who want to expand in this emerging market. We’ve seen that there are some forks or trifurcations within the channel and some are focused on how to simplify what’s coming. We’re really trying to push to simplify what comes to the VAR community. Simplicity is coming, so we’re really looking for partners to focus on simplicity, effectiveness, and being able to deliver really easy ROI.

Canonical’s Fredrickson on the ideal MSP partner

The strongest thing is the desire to do something different, it’s someone who is really trying to take their customers to a different place and push the envelope. This can take all sorts of forms. It could be them providing support at a much higher level of service or smaller solution-oriented players bringing us the problems. Most important are those partners who have these aggressive conversations.

Scale Computing’s Kanen on VMware Partner Capture

Continue to understand what these trends are within the edge computing space, earning the name Scale Computing and helping to address these local applications. The other side is the acquisition of Broadcom and VMware. Our goal this year is to take advantage of this opportunity, run as far as we can and get as many customers as we can out of VMware and into Scale Computing.

Lorenco Security Compass on improving security offerings for the mid-market

Security by Design is really much more of a business game. They’re big government and high compliance companies like Bank of America, financial services, companies like that. This year we’re launching a mid-market product that targets smaller shops that don’t have 2,000 developers. We’re really trying to go down from that enterprise lake to the middle market. The goal as we go into next year is to start really pushing this MSP game and going after the partners who are doing this work on behalf of their customers and helping them do more.

DNS filter Pruitt on MSP relationships

Our journey is based on communication and building our relationships. We are relatively new to the channel and are still getting the feel of everything. We really want to make relationships possible. There is a lot of willingness on our part to be flexible [MSP] they need to make sure they have what they need, technology-wise. We’ve just released our reseller training that will tell MSPs all about DNS filtering and what filtering is, and then all about what kind of customers to consider and who are prime candidates for our solution.

Kitework’s Pfister in a holistic partner approach

What was being seen in the market or customer demand is that it is not just about technology, people are looking for holistic solutions. People are looking for specific technology, and then there’s a process and documentation that goes with it. Our organization strategically does not provide services. Once we get into the after-sales world, there are things we will do to help customers, such as being able to hold them in a matter of hours. I will do my best to allow you and help you along the way though [the customer] is relying on you for your business, advice and market understanding. You will lead them down this path which is the only way forward. He is willing to be activated, willing to understand things and understand the business value that goes into it. Once you structurally understand the business value, we move on to the services side and you can really manage that relationship from start to finish.

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