Over the last 12 months, A10 Networks has made a significant investment into the channel, driving five channel initiatives including developing its distribution relationships, deal registration, partner ecosystem, organic leads and channel enablement. With the rise in globally dispersed enterprises and new work from home requirements that are increasing traffic, application service infrastructures are no longer residing in data centres alone. This highlights a further significant opportunity for A10 Networks and the channel around secure application delivery and networks in the year ahead. Chris Martin, Channel Sales Leader for the EMEA and SAARC, tells us about A10 Networks’ new channel initiatives and the work it is undertaking with partners.
Can you tell us how has the pandemic affected investments into the channel across this region?
The channel is incredibly important to us and the pandemic has not affected our commitment or investment in the channel. In fact, we have increased our commitment in 2020. Our strategy is to grow the channel, but grow it with a network of specialist partners and we’re focused on three key areas: education, engagement and deal registration. As such we have five channel initiatives underway which include developing our distribution relationships, deal registration, partner ecosystem, organic leads and channel enablement.
We have switched our events and activity to accommodate the remote working world and we have invested much more in enabling the channel with sales and technical training. Educating and bringing our community together to learn and network is also a high priority. For example, last year, we launched our first partner summit event, held In Sardinia. Our key partner contacts were in attendance and it provided them an opportunity to hear from our leadership team about our channel strategy and new products and solutions coming in the following quarters. As with most events in 2020, we converted this to a virtual event that was held over two days, with sales, technical and networking sessions.
It’s been quite a busy, exciting time, channel-wise, over the last couple of months?
It’s been huge change, quite a big transformation, I would say, over the last 18 months to two years. Our focus has shifted massively towards the channel. And we’ve seen that with new programmes, we’ve taken on new marketing people, we have new channel people, new logos, new case studies. So, lots of things have happened in a relatively quick period of time that have developed our channel.
Could you tell us about A10 Networks’ five channel initiatives?
A10’s five channel initiatives include developing its distribution relationships, deal registration, partner ecosystem, organic leads and channel enablement. Our strategy is to ensure that A10’s sales organisation does not compete with our partners but works in a highly complementary way and that distribution relationships underpin the channel community. In particular, we will work closely with our distribution partners managing these key relationships in order to track success. Deal registration is also a big priority as A10 works with partners to help open doors to new opportunities and create new revenue sources with existing customers.
Another key area of focus is around A10’s partner ecosystem. We are keen to build quality relationships based on trust and we are constantly looking at how we can add value to partners. Finally, enablement is key. A10 offers sales and technical training to all our partners, helping them to get up to speed on new technology, enabling them to complete technical certifications.
How is A10 Networks continually enhancing its channel programme?
A10 is really ramping up our commitment to channel. A10 has always been a channel-first organisation but we really want to work with our partners to add value and enable them. We have specific initiatives such as events, training certifications, our portal has also been revamped and we are working to incentivise both sales and technical teams to get certified.
Could you highlight any technology trends that are having an impact on your channel strategy?
The technology trends that are shaping our channel strategy include:
- Customers must ensure always available application delivery and security – on-premises and in the cloud
- They need seamless migration to the cloud and cloud-native with hybrid solutions
- Organisations must protect their networks from cybersecurity attacks that threaten network availability
- There is a requirement to simplify IT operations with connected intelligence, automation, Machine Learning and DevOps/SecOps tools.
- Customers need to secure multi-generational networks throughout the transition to 5G and cloud-native architectures
- And finally, they must protect investments throughout their business transformations
How has A10 responded to the rising demand for secure application delivery and networks?
Few corporate functions shifted priorities so much and so quickly when the COVID-19 crisis struck as corporate cybersecurity operations and the technology providers that support them. With upwards of two-thirds of UK adults set to work remotely post-COVID, it’s clear that the pandemic will create a larger surface area for cyberattacks and with this will come increased opportunities for cybersecurity specialists.
Most people’s homes are simply not prepared from a security standpoint. Sending and receiving confidential emails via their laptops that are connected to the Internet using the same Wi-Fi network that also connects to their homes’ smart devices leaves people particularly vulnerable. There will be an increased need for security vendor support to make the home environment safe for workers.
Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all approach and this is where strong partner relationships are critical. Some large organisations will place the onus on scalability, flexibility and an efficient multi-cloud transformation. Whereas some organisations will need advice on how they can make a smoother and more secure transition to a remote workforce. This can include helping them devise a security strategy that looks at:
- Planning for BYOD devices to be connecting to the organisation
- Knowing that secure and sensitive data may be accessed via unsecure Wi-Fi
- Needing crisis management and incident response plans to be executable via a remote workforce
Can you tell us more about how you support your partners with training and enable them to obtain technical certifications?
A10 offers sales and technical training to all partners, helping them to get up to speed on new technology, enabling them to complete technical certifications. As already outlined, this is a key area of focus for us. For example, we now have Sales Associate Training and Technical Training paths for our partners and we also have Technical Associate for Enterprise and Technical Associate for Service Providers training.
How do you work differently with partners across the region?
We are much more focused on certain key vertical sectors and as such we are looking to work with partners who have specialist vertical market capabilities. We are looking to identify the right partners, addressing the right gap in the right vertical market.
Looking ahead, what would you say A10’s key priorities will be?
Digital Transformation is the key driver of technology today across the globe and across all industry verticals and this will only continue to evolve and develop. Likewise, organisations will be looking to realign security and IT operations to encompass a complex multi-cloud world, as well as IoT proliferation, the evolution of networks to cloud-native and preparing for 5G.
Our key priorities focus on enabling service providers and enterprises to deliver business-critical applications that are secure, available and efficient for multi-cloud transformation and 5G readiness.
Outside of that we will continue to enable, educate and build quality channel relationships.