Technology Reseller - v23

37 Q&A technolog y don’t have the time or the knowledge or the technology to do it themselves. So, the bundles make total sense. TR: What are the price implications? SH: Nowhere near what you would think. If you take a standalone security solution from us or one of our competitors, it will cost thousands to tens of thousands of pounds a month depending on how big you are and how much you need. The additional cost on an SDN network for security is just a handful of per cent. It’s way, way less than buying elements individually. TR: The productisation of these security bundles must be helpful for your channel partners. SH: It should be. Security has always been a challenge for the channel. I think they are scared of it, because things quickly get very deep, very techie, very dark arts, people with hoodies and that kind of thing, so naturally they shy away from it. For one thing, they don’t want to be embroiled with security issues and hacks, and secondly resellers tend not to have the resources to sell it, pre-sell it, install it, manage it, provide support for it – all that kind of stuff. But they’ve always sold networks; they get that – it’s lines, they plug it in, they can put a price to it. If you put security on the edge in a really network-driven way, rather than a security-driven way, they are much more inclined to view this is an extension of what they already know rather than as a brand new set of things they need to learn. If you understand networks, you understand the proposition and don’t have to sit down to sell security. TR: Have you had feedback from end customers yet? SH: There are customers we speak to who don’t feel the need for it yet because they’ve got their own anti-virus, firewalls, UTM, SIEM. We do a lot with financial institutions and their security posture is really good. But there’s a bunch of others we are talking to at the moment who are saying ‘Yes, this is something we desperately need: it makes total sense to put a fortress around the edge of our network, as opposed to us trying to do it ourselves’. They can swap out a lot of legacy technology; they can swap out a lot of duplicate suppliers; they can trim their whole supply chain down for this product set. That makes their lives a lot easier, because they don’t have to manage so many people. TR: Did the customers you originally developed the bundles for have any qualities in common that made this the right solution? SH: They had trimmed down their network infrastructure IT department. They had either kept the same people and moved them on to do cloud or something else or they had outsourced their IT function and just had a very strategic team. They weren’t able to do security themselves but didn’t want the IT outsource company to do it either. TR: Do you plan to extend productisation to other areas? SH: Yes. We also provide global unified communications (UC) and contact centre, which are predicated on a really good solid network. Linking network and voice together has always been a challenge because not everyone is in the same buying cycle for a network as they are for voice. But if we provide their network, adding voice and contact centre later is much, much easier. We are not productising voice per se, but we are making sure our customers and prospects fully understand what you can get from us and how they work together seamlessly. The work we are doing with Cisco will accelerate that greatly (in March, Cisco selected Masergy as a global premier partner for its Customer Journey Platform). TR: Masergy seems to have been very active in the channel of late. Are channel sales more of a priority for you? SH: We have been in the UK for 10 years and changed our strategy 12 months ago. When I got here, Masergy wasn’t a channel-focused business, but it is now. In America, 85% of our business is channel- based and we need to be at that level here. Two years ago, sales were probably at best 70:30 (direct:partner); last year it was 50:50; this year it needs to be 30:70; and next year 15:85. We had the best year we have ever had in EMEA last year, even though we restructured, so we are getting traction and the market is with us. TR: Who are your customers? SH: Typically, medium global enterprises, with 10 to 700 global sites, so quite a broad spectrum. The people we tend to work with most are people who look at their network and say ‘if this fails, our business fails’. They are the ones that put in the effort, time and resource to make it really good, rather than just buying on price. TR: How many channel partners do you have now and what are they looking for from you? SH: We have 80 active channel partners. A typical partner will want to bring us in as an industry expert to educate their customers (and them) on what’s possible. A lot of people we work with are consultancy-type organisations, so their name goes with the sale. They want to work with someone who knows what they are doing, is a safe pair of hands and will look after the customer long-term. Obviously, we say we will pay you really, really well and you will earn lots of money, which is true, but if you ask them what they really want, they will say just make sure my customer is looked after. The other thing is our reach and scope. Most channel partners really struggle with getting global reach for their customers, especially for voice. Having that reach is rare and adds a tonne of value to partners. They might only have 5 or 6 international customers with 50 or so offices globally, but they will contribute a lot of profit and are at risk from companies like us that can come in and do a global deal. We can secure that business for them and expand it and make them more money. Find out more about Masergy’s global partner program at: Top 10 Partners Masergy’s Top 10 channel partners in Fiscal Year 2019, in alphabetical order, are: n Advantage Communications Group, LLC n Avant Communications n Bridgepointe Technologies n Business Communications Management n PlanetOne Communications, Inc. n Sandler Partners n Simplify, Inc. n Telarus, Inc. n Telecom Brokerage, Inc. (TBI) n Telecom Consulting Group