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Barracuda opens up about channel overhaul

The vendor has talked about a restructure of its channel and effects of simplifying partner programme

Barracuda Networks has revealed how its overhauled its partner programme last year, and that partners have a deadline of this summer to secure their places in the new programme.

Speaking to Microscope at Barracuda’s Discover 19 event, Chris Ross, SVP of the firm’s international operations, said the company implemented the changes after realising the programme had become too complex to manage as the company expanded.

“It had just become just really, really complicated so we took a fresh look at it and wrote a new discount matrix from scratch,” he said. “We had two different types of deal registration in the old programme. We simplified the grid and made it easy to work out what discount partners can get, and we now have one deal registration programme, and we made it richer. We increased margins overall for partners in the new programme refresh. We were cleaning up a lot of stuff, but we also wanted to add more value to the partners.

“We also looked at the renewals side of it, which is obviously a very margin-rich piece of the business. Even that had become complex, so we simplified that a lot and standardised margins across the board so that it was just easier.”

As part of the makeover, Barracuda dropped from four partner levels to three, with the option for ‘affiliate’ partners not in the programme to buy from distribution.

Ross also implemented an EMEA-wide audit of its partners, “re-levelling” 6000 partners across the programme. “We hadn’t done a great job in being focused on where partners were in the levels and proactively driving that. So that was something I wanted to do since I joined, because there were so many partners, many of which were inactive but sitting in high levels in the programme,” he said.

Partners have been given 12 months to meet the criteria set by Barracuda. “We gave them a grace period through the year,” said Ross. “It was theirs to lose at the end of the year. [We said] ‘We don’t want to push you down because that has a margin impact if you go down a level in the programme’, so we said we’ll give them the year.”

Tier requirements are based on revenue and certification, with the second being the most lacking, says Ross. As such, the vendor has had “a big push” on training and certification with additional training sessions and initiatives “to give partners every opportunity to get themselves certified and get to the right level in the programme.”

There were some partners who parted company with the firm following the audit, but these were ones that hadn’t transacted for 12 months: “There was no formal end to the to them being in the programme,” said Ross.

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