SolarWinds Focuses on Observability with Renewed Partner Program
SolarWinds recently launched a major effort to clarify and unify its global partner program, with the appointment of Jeff McCullough as vice president of global partner sales. With more than 20 years of IT channel sales experience, McCullough joins SolarWinds from Park Place Technologies, where he led the launch of the company’s new channel program.
In an interview with Channel InsiderMcCullough detailed SolarWinds’ current product direction, as well as his plans to reimagine the company’s partner program.
Switch to observability
From IT Asset Management (ITAM) to Database Management, SolarWinds’ suite of offerings is focused on helping customers drive successful IT transformation initiatives. “We have a diverse portfolio of products, but they all basically solve various problems that customers have in managing their IT infrastructure and keeping their IT operations running smoothly,” McCullough said.
The company recently began an effort to transform its products towards observability, moving from simple monitoring – determining what happened – to understanding why an event occurred. An additional layer of AI “provides analytics and insights into what’s happening in the environment and why things are happening both on-premises and in the cloud,” McCullough said.
It’s a logical answer to a commonality among customers: managing the massive number of events that organizations face.
“We have over 300,000 customers globally, and all of them basically have one thing in common, which is that they have an infinite number of events happening in their environment,” McCullough said.
The challenge is to make sense of this volume of data, and this is where SolarWinds hopes to stand out. “We know we can help customers understand what’s going on in the data center, and we want to bring them that next level of capability,” McCullough said. “The AI logic that we can overlay – our vision’s approach to AI operations both on-premises and in the cloud, we believe is going to really differentiate us in the market in terms of alignment on how whose customers do IT today.”
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A subscription model
The shift to observability is being implemented alongside a shift from perpetual licensing products to a subscription model that gives customers access to a wider range of SolarWinds’ portfolio than they previously could have. .
“From a customer perspective, you’re actually going to get a much larger suite of SolarWinds products included in these observability platforms,” McCullough said. “This will dramatically increase customer value and align with a different consumption model that for almost all customers is increasingly aligning with how they want to operate and fund their IT.”
All of this is intended to provide new opportunities for partners and customers. “As we move into observability and move into these new models, including our move to subscription, for our partners, it’s really an opportunity to have a different conversation with customers about their operations. IT and move from transactional to strategic opportunities,” McCullough mentioned.
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Secure by Design
SolarWinds CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna joined the company in January 2021, shortly after a high-profile breach of the company’s Orion platform was revealed. At the time, Ramakrishna published a blog post detailing the company’s plans to respond by focusing on three key areas: further securing its internal environment, improving its product development environment, and ensuring the safety and integrity of its products.
And all this corresponds to the concept of observability. “The opportunity here for us is not to close doors but to open them, to allow people to understand what happened and why it happened – and for our customers, to understand what we are doing about it, and for the industry, here are the lessons learned, and here are some best practices that we think really help make everyone better overall,” McCullough said.
Following Ramakrishna’s focus on safety overhaul, all SolarWinds products now follow safety-by-design principles. “It’s about embedding security not just in features and products, but also in the actual development of products, ensuring that these products are secure end-to-end from the time we develop them until ‘for posting and updating,” McCullough said. .
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Empower the chain
Although more than 60% of SolarWinds’ business is done through partners, McCullough said the company’s partner business model varies by location. SolarWinds will therefore also be working in the coming months to unify and clarify this model globally, providing incremental changes and guidance. to partners.
“As our partners become more and more international with their customers, it is really important for us to have a global reach for our partner program – and, at the same time, to better define the opportunities for partners to accelerate and grow with the SolarWinds business,” McCullough said.
Without disrupting the current Partner experience of selling SolarWinds products and associated partner-branded services, the plan is to support Partners who may not be able to provide services on their own. “We are introducing a set of SolarWinds-branded service products that partners can sell,” McCullough said. “They can sell these products, make a margin on the sale of these products, and we will have a service network that can step in and make the delivery.”
Invest in partners
Alternatively, partners who choose to become certified to supply SolarWinds products can both sell and ship those products at greater profit. “There’s baseline money for just reselling services, which is a good step — and there’s a certified partner strategy that allows partners to sell those products and deliver those products, and earn even more money,” McCullough said.
And none of this stops partners from continuing to offer their own branded service products. “We believe this strategy both builds on strong market capacity and also helps partners raise their profile in the market by obtaining a certified brand,” he said.
The broader message to business partners, he said, is simple: “We are investing; that investment will stimulate growth; and that growth will drive profitability. This means investing not only in program and benefit structures, but also in people, growing the field organization and corporate marketing team to support partners as they grow.
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