Riverbed bins revenue targets, moves to competency-based model

A major overhaul of Riverbed’s channel partner programme for 2014 will see the emphasis shift from revenue targets to partner competencies

Application performance infrastructure specialist Riverbed is embarking on a major overhaul of its reseller programme, shifting the emphasis off straight-up sales targets to a competency and certification model, and rationalising its four level set-up down to three.

The vendor claimed this demonstrated it was “committed to the channel with increased investment and focus on its partners’ go-to-market efforts.”

By taking the shift off revenue attainment targets and putting the emphasis on specialisation, Riverbed said it would be better able to align its investments and resources to partners with specific solution focuses – or those that can offer much deeper and wider across Riverbed’s portfolio.

It has identified four competencies as part of its 2014 programme: WAN Optimisation, Storage Delivery, Application Delivery and Performance Management. Partners will have to be fully certified on products within each competency in order to receive associated benefits in future.

At the same time Riverbed today revealed it would enhance benefits for those resellers that do invest in certifications and training, as well as simplifying and streamlining its certification and training processes with updated sales and technical pre-sales training, and investment in virtual labs, partner roadshows and so on. It also announced plans to bring in a Deal Desk to “drive best practice sales engagements globally.”

The final change will see its programme distilled down to three levels: Elite, Premier and Authorised, consolidating the Gold and Silver tiers from its previous set-up. Riverbed pointed out that it would "continue to cultivate this partner community to gain additional traction with them," while distribution partners will have goals and objectives tied to cultivate this partner level to increase engagement and drive toward higher level program participation.

Top tier elite partners will have to have three competencies under their belt and meet a bookings requirement, while Premier Partners will have to invest to develop one minimum core competency, and Authorised partners will have minimal requirements for minimal benefits.

Riverbed worldwide field operations president David Peranich painted the move as an exciting one for partners.

“We are investing in key areas to simplify the programme, improve partner opportunities and differentiate and reward partners based on their competency and investment in Riverbed products and solutions. We are making these enhancements to accelerate growth, expand into new markets and better serve our customers.”

“Riverbed has put tremendous thought into this new programme framework and structure,” said John Coleman, director of NetComm, Product and Partner Management at CDW. “We are looking forward to continued participation and success as our two companies collaborate to support our joint customers.”

Mike Nowlan, vice president of security, virtualisation and networking at Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, added: “This is a healthy change. Riverbed has brought on a number of products over the last two years and a programme change makes sense. We are seeing other product manufacturers making similar changes.”

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