Channel Marker


June 29, 2015  7:28 PM

Partnering its way to stardom

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Channel, Mergers & Acquisitions, Microsoft partners

For the second consecutive year, 2015 and 2014, 13-year old New Signature, Washington, D.C., has been named the Microsoft United States Partner of the Year. Last year, the Microsoft-centric managed service provider and cloud-first company, specialized in design, customization, management and support of private and public cloud services as well as hybrid environments. Today, the partner company also calls itself an independent software vendor (ISV).

With the recent $35 million infusion of cash from Columbia Capital, a venture capital firm based in Alexandria, Va., New Signature company president and founder Chris Hertz set out to expand the company’s capabilities and geographic reach.

On June 1, with the acquisition of CMS Consulting Inc. and Infrastructure Guardian – two Toronto-based Microsoft partners, New Signature Canada was launched. The transaction expanded the partner’s skill set to include specialization in Microsoft infrastructure and ISV and managed services from Infrastructure Guardian, a sister company to CMS Consulting. Brian Bourne, founder of both Canadian firms heads up New Signature Canada as president.

Partner partnering has been an essential ingredient to the success of both New Signature and CMS Consulting. Were it not for partnering, New Signature wouldn’t be the company it is today, said Chris Hertz, president and founder.

“Today, there’s a much broader set of technologies that businesses can consume and, as a result, it requires greater partnerships,” he said.

Providing business solutions today exceeds the scope of expertise of a single partner, he noted.

“I believe that if you look at companies that have been successful versus companies that have not been successful, a lot of our success has be predicated on embracing the new [technologies] and helping our customers solve for that and that means working with a broader set of partners,” Hertz said.

Five years ago, New Signature, founded in 2003, didn’t have a director of alliances role dedicated to finding – and going to market with – the right partners.

“That’s because the importance wasn’t quite as high,” said Hertz.

Today, New Signature boasts a broad set of partnerships across a range of Microsoft partners. To implement a Skype for Business server project on premise or even online, it requires about half a dozen partners to bring the solution to market, for example.

“It requires a litany of partners – some who fill in gaps and others who bring more advanced solutions to market with our customers. It’s about going out and saying, ‘What are we really good at? We’re good at these four things and the customer needs a solution that requires a broader set of capabilities; let’s go out and find that really amazing partner to work together,'” explained Hertz.

Interestingly enough, CMS Consulting and sister company Infrastructure Guardian had not partnered with New Signature prior to the acquisition. However, Hertz said they were a well-known Microsoft partner.

“We went out looking for set of really smart, talented and intellectually curious folks who really fit with our culture and would deliver a set of skills and capabilities that we didn’t have in house,” said Hertz.

CMS Consulting was also a multiple Microsoft Partner Award winner. The company won the Microsoft Canada 2014 IMPACT Award and is in the running for the same award this year, along with collaborating partner, iMason.

As an infrastructure company with a narrow focus around Microsoft technologies, CMS Consulting often partnered with application development partners, providing the complex infrastructure that sits beneath the application. Then, when these application-level solution providers showed a desire to move to an as-a-service model — run and manage the application for customers — they white-labeled Bourne’s Infrastructure Guardian service. Infrastructure Guardian provides a 24 x7 cloud management as a service for the public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

Two drivers prompted Bourne to sell his companies. The first had to do with changes in the IT marketplace, particularly how customer buying has changed to prefer as-a-service buying and beyond working with niche partners. The second driver was the strong track record of Columbia Capital and the firm’s plans to build a big North American Microsoft partner – a task that would have been much more difficult doing with his own cash flow, as well as the experience of New Signature, said Bourne.

The new New Signature has a combined 150 employees.

June 9, 2015  6:43 PM

Cisco delivers on cloud services promise

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Channel, Cisco, Cisco Firewall, Cisco InterCloud, Cisco SDN, Cloud service providers, NFV

Yesterday at Cisco Live in San Diego the vendor announced several new service provider security solutions, keeping the promise it made at Cisco Partner Summit 2015 when it rolled out version 2.0 of its Cloud and Managed Services Program (CMSP).

At that time, Steve Benvenuto, vice president, worldwide partners and alliances at Cisco, said that the enhanced CMSP offered partners three new cloud and Cisco Intercloud-related opportunities – one of which was a new set of opportunities for resellers as more Cisco Powered cloud services are offered to enable hybrid IT.

The vendor’s new service provider security solutions include Cisco Firepower 9300 Integrated Security Platform; expanded Advanced Orchestration and Cloud Capabilities; and, advanced features such as secure containers to accommodate future security services and applications, according to the announcement.

The announcement details include:

• Cisco Firepower 9300 Integrated Security Platform was designed and built for service providers and is carrier-grade, high-performance and scalable.

• The expanded Advanced Orchestration and Cloud Capabilities enable integration between the new security solutions and third-party software- defined networking/network functions virtualization (SDN/NFV) solutions, as well as Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance Virtual (ASAv) with Cisco’s Network Service Orchestrator (NSO) and Application-Centric Infrastructure (ACI). Additionally, the orchestration and cloud capabilities include open APIs for integration with orchestration, Operation Support Systems/Business Support Systems, and Cloud Security as a Service solutions.

• In addition to the advanced features, Cisco ASA firewall and third-party DDoS migration from Radware are now supported. Expect to see additional capabilities in the second half of 2015.

Cisco’s security announcement for service providers highlighted the vendor’s continued push to expand opportunities with the emerging Internet of Everything (IoE).


May 13, 2015  5:28 PM

New finance options for Cisco partners

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Channel, Cisco, Cisco partners, Cisco UCS, Finance

Announced last month in Montreal at Cisco Partner Summit 2015, Cisco Refresh, a new program and sales tool, formerly known as Cisco Certified Refurbished Equipment, was officially launched May 12.

Continued »


May 6, 2015  4:46 PM

EMC debuts channel-oriented VMAX 100K expansion for VSPEX

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Channel, EMC VMAX

LAS VEGAS – In the flurry of new product announcements and product upgrades being made here at EMC World 2015 and EMC Partner Summit 2015, of particular interest to channel partners was the expansion of EMC’s VSPEX converged infrastructure portfolio to include the EMC VMAX 100K enterprise data services platform.

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April 30, 2015  5:58 PM

Cisco test drives greater sales and marketing alignment

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Cisco

MONTREAL – One central theme at Cisco Partner Summit 2015 that washeld here this week is tighter alignment between the sales and marketing organizations, with the goal of a more shared responsibility for revenue growth. Toward that end, Cisco purposefully scheduled, for the first time, Cisco Marketing Velocity and Cisco Partner Summit back to back.

According to Sherri Liebo, vice president of global marketing at Cisco, all Velocity attendees were expected to spend time at Partner Summit. For many Velocity attendees, this is their first time attending Partner Summit.

That was the case for Josie Smoot, director of marketing and communications at Iron Bow Technologies ofChantilly, Va., who has attended three Marketing Velocity events. She said that by attending Partner Summit with salespeople from Iron Bow she’ll get to hear what they hear and will gain more insight into the department she supports.

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April 8, 2015  11:21 PM

Tech Data tool tracks special pricing agreements

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Distributors, Tech Data

Tech Data Corp. today introduced a special pricing agreement tool, My S.P.A. Tracker, which is available to all resellers. The proactive tool is designed to increase revenue for partners by notifying them of revenue-boosting sales opportunities, according to the distributor.

Tech Data has always had special pricing agreements — agreements between vendors and partners administered by the distributor — but never an easy way to communicate all opportunities.

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April 2, 2015  3:20 PM

Trends in IT security signal increased partner opportunity

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
CompTIA, Gartner, IT security

IT security has always been a moving target for businesses. The end result: Some do, some don’t and many don’t do enough.

However, as companies adopt mobile and cloud IT delivery models, and come face to face with privacy and compliance requirements, there’s renewed interest in IT security and new opportunities for channel partners. But providing security solutions will require that many solution providers rethink their posture, according to CompTIA’s recently released report, Trends in Information Security.

For starters, the industry association’s report noted that partners must thoroughly understand the regulatory climate for IT for both the benefit of their own business liability and that of their clients.

Continued »


March 30, 2015  5:51 PM

Train and transform: New classes from CompTIA

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
CompTIA, CompTIA certifications, IT training and certifications

Training courses geared to keep IT channel partners skilled and current have been a staple offering from CompTIA since 2011, and the recently released IT Channel Training Guide for Spring 2015 continues that tradition with the addition of three new courses that focus on business transformation.

The new courses are the Quick Start Session to Business Agility, the Quick Start Session to Understanding Your Balance Sheet, and the CompTIA Executive Certificate in Financial Management. These offerings are just a few of more than a dozen training options that focus on the theme of business transformation. The addition of new material for partners doesn’t stop there. CompTIA also added new content in its managed services and vertical markets tracks.

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March 25, 2015  12:00 AM

Citrix specializations, differentiation for partners

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Citrix, IT training, IT training and certifications

Just a couple of months after Citrix introduced four new specializations designed to demonstrate a high level of technical competency, 15 partner organizations have earned one or more specialization and one partner reported winning new business because it earned the credential. Hundreds of partners are in the pipeline to attain the new certifications, according to Citrix.

For LPS Integration in Nashville, Tenn., a Citrix Platinum Partner that earned three of the new specializations, pointing out that fact to a potential customer helped to differentiate the firm from competitors and win the business. The project involved Citrix NetScaler.

“This was a customer that we had done business with before, but they were shopping around,” said said Frank Pulliza, chief operating officer and one of the company’s founders. “So we were in a competitive situation, not just from a price perspective, but there was the threat of someone else coming in and working with our client. Continued »


March 20, 2015  5:06 PM

HP recommits to PPS partners

Lynn Haber Lynn Haber Profile: Lynn Haber
Hewlett-Packard

LAS VEGAS — The doors have closed on Hewlett-Packard Co.’s Global Partner Conference (HP GPC) 2015 – and next year’s event will be different following the split of HP into two companies. But as Printer and Personal Systems (PPS) partners move ahead with what will be called HP Inc. (HPI), they can expect to see a continuation of the partner-focused approach rooted in PPS, according to Jos Brenkel, senior vice president of worldwide strategy and project management office, printing and personal systems at HP.

Today, about 85% of PPS revenue goes through the channel.

The split of HP into two companies makes sense to Paul Kaminski, director of document storage solutions at Innovative Office Solutions, which is based in Burnsville, Minn. Innovative Office Solutions is focused primarily on the PPS side of HP’s business

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