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Extreme Networks bringing Aerohive partners into unified programme

Plans to bring Aerohive partners into a unified programme are close to being made public by Extreme Networks

Extreme Networks is moving towards rolling out a unified partner programme to cover both its existing channel and those that have joined as a result of the recent Aerohive acquisition.

The deal, which closed in early August, was struck because it gave Extreme the chance to expand its wireless LAN portfolio but it also meant that it gave the firm access to a number of new partners, with plenty of MSPs among those that had been working with Aerohive.

Since then Extreme Network’s vice president of worldwide channels Gordon Mackintosh has been looking at integrating the Aerohive resellers into the fold and will use a major partner gathering in Athens in mid-November to outline more details on how it will unify its programmes.

“We have been working through the integration of Aerohive and in the short-term each have had their own partner programmes and it has been business as usual,” he said.

One of the largest recent exercises of merging channel partner programmes came when Dell acquired EMC and looked to unite its partner base and the messages around picking the best of both options are also being echoed by Mackintosh as he sets out on his own mission to update the Extreme offering.

He added that the integration of Aerohive has given Extreme the opportunity to look at some fresh ideas around how it operates its programme: “The seal of success is finding the best ingredients of both and pulling them together.”

The firm has already invested tens of millions of dollars in its partner programmes and has been increasing the support it can provide to its top managed partners, which have responded with 22% year-on-year growth.

“This year we are investing almost another 30% in terms of services, people and enablement dollars,”  he said.

Extreme has also been increasing the support it gives its distribution to make sure that it can invest in the emerging partner community.

“We have invested with the distributors in Europe so they can help us find the partners of the future,” he said.

“We have an SMB play and we have the opportunity to reach out to new partners,” he added that it had also increased the support for MSPs and had looked at how Aerohive had been working with that segment of the channel community.

Mackintosh is fresh off the back of a partner advisory conference and said that the feedback from resellers had been positive and it continued to look for feedback as it developed its programmes.

“I am a big believer that whenever you are faced with a challenge, like pulling two programmes together, you can do no better than by asking the partners,” he said.

Extreme has made several significant acquisitions in the past, picking up Zebra's WLAN business and Avaya's networking operation, and is well used to integrating partners that have come on board as a result of those deals. Mackintosh said that it was experienced with making the integration process as smooth as possible for partners after it sealed an acquisition.

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