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Riverbed remains on a mission to get the channel to promote the firm’s core expertise in the visibility and network performance arenas.
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, the vendor’s channel head, Bridget Bisnette, had indicated that the firm was on a drive to underline its strong capabilities around visibility and performance – and that has continued to be the case.
Colette Kitterhing, senior director UK&I at Riverbed Technology, said that over the course of last year it did get that message across to partners.
“Getting that message across around the visibility suite has been key, and was always a strategy for 2020, but I actually think what’s happened in the world over the course of the year has brought that to the forefront even more,” she said.
“It has even more relevance in some of the challenges that businesses are seeing now. So it was a strategy, but it’s been put forward even more and, for me, going into 2021, that is an absolute focus for the channel in the UK.”
A lot of customers are starting to draw up their strategies for the year ahead and starting to look beyond Covid-19 and beyond the purchases they might have made under more pressure in the first lockdown last year.
“A lot of channel partners are now focused around offerings as a phase two, beyond the initial just get it working, but offerings that will further enhance experience, usability and ways of working,” said Kitterhing. “It’s really coming into the next phase now, with businesses making a shift in the technology or a shift in their strategy from a timelines perspective, so partners are adapting now to add more value around that.
“We are nine months into this way of working now and we’ve seen some customers rethink larger technology strategies, be that digital transformation and cloud adoption. That may have been planned over the next three to five years, but now they are bringing those timeframes forward, project cycles may be collapsing or certain phases disappearing, or rethinking completely differently when it comes to branch office investment.”
Kitterhing said customers were now having more longer-term strategy discussions about how they could adapt the network for the future – and that was where channel partners could add value to the discussion.
Factors such as 5G influence some of those strategic considerations and the network is under the spotlight in a way that should benefit channel partners that have expertise and value to add in that area, she added.
Kitterhing is feeling optimistic about 2021, with the dynamics in the market favouring those that can talk about visibility and performance against a backdrop of a shift towards the cloud.
“Businesses are planning long-term,” she said. “So we’re getting a little bit more back into more of a steady cadence for partners and customers and less of the sort of reactionary sort of behaviour. Businesses have to also plan for post-Covid and recovery and getting back into growth.”