In the first part of this interview, Carl Terrantroy, senior director, partner sales for ANZ at CA Technologies, speaks to Reseller News on the sidelines of the company’s IT Leaders Forum in Auckland, on the changes he has implemented since taking on the channel role, and how he plans to add partners within each portfolio of solutions.
Q: How has the move from the CTO role to a channel focused role been for you?
Carl Terrantroy: I moved from the CTO role, into this role, in February this year. I have had sales roles within CA before. The CTO role was an unnatural one for me, even while I am very strong from a technology point of view. I have done years of partner management in other countries. I ran the channel in Citrix for ANZ and India and Korea for a while as well. Did that for nearly four years and worked for a smaller Australian company and ran their channels for APJ as well. And I worked for Netcom for all their international partners.
So I have had quite a lot of channel experience, just not in CA.
The dynamics of what makes a channel work does not really change. The products change. There is always new and trendy that is driving the market. That is not really a partner thing. That is just the market and the technologies that have happened now and partners pick up on that and work out how they add value.
Fundamentally the principles are the same even if you are out of it for a couple of years.
Q: What has been the key things you have done or changed since taking over earlier this year?
CT:We are going through a huge transformation in the channel. The channel when I started five years ago was virtually non-existent. My predecessor did a great job of building up the managed services business. And the managed services business is quite successful in both Australia and New Zealand.
When I started here, the challenge was to expand from managed services and start growing three other channel sectors. That is the Accenture, the CapGemini – the consulting practices. The Indian global outsourcing service providers (GSPs) as well focusing on getting growth in those, and the reseller/SI market.
So those three markets are where I have really been focused on trying to get growth this year across A/NZ. Because the managed services business was soft of already there. Yes there are always improvements but it was already quite a sizeable business.
Partners are becoming crucial to CA success now. We wouldn’t reach our aspirational goals without partners. It is just that straightforward.
That’s because with such a diverse portfolio we cannot afford to have enough skilled people, enough staff, enough sales people, enough delivery people – we just can’t. We need partners to fill that gap and take that on. And we are starting to get specific technologies into being partner-only markets, where we will still sell it, but as far as doing delivery and implementation and services and that we are after partners to take over 100% of it.
In Australia, we have had Hagrid, for instance. Basically, now there is all that delivery for service management. And that was quite a strategic thing – that they could just do it at a rate and a proficiency level that was better than we could do. Then we could repurpose our staff into other technologies. We don’t anymore need to hold skills in every single portfolio.
We are looking to replicate that in NZ. I recently had a conversation with the country manager here about that. Our goal here is to find about three partners in each of five portfolios. Certainly, we should be able to find couple of partners here, in at least four of them.
Currently, we've got one or two partners in those portfolios, perhaps in one of them we have got three partners, but we do need to get a bit more of a robust market here.
We are never going to be an organisation that chases 150 partners in NZ. In Australia, we have 27 partners that we manage. Here, we have got up to 12 strong, very active partners. We will always have an ecosystem that is bigger than that. But at any one time having more than 10 or 12 partners that are very active – that is the level we are after, because that gives critical scale to the partners so they can be successful. That’s quite important for us. We don’t want to ever have the market saturated with partners here.
What we are after now is some of the GSPs. We are trying to recruit them to do some work here. Tech Mahindra is quite active for us in NZ. Probably easier to talk about who we are working with now and how they fit in those portfolios. We have got Eagle Technology working on our service management portfolio. They have got fantastic capability. I wish they were in Australia, quite frankly. They have got a great environment here.
Partners like Activate are very active around our application delivery business, especially in Wellington with the federal government. They are doing a tremendous job of creating that market for us. That’s what our partners to do and why we want this to be partner market so they can invest.
Security is where we have to find some scope here. We do have a partner in Australia that is set to acquire an organisation in NZ. Then they would be represented here. At some stage, they have an acquisition in mind here and that will be their presence set up in NZ. That will be a great. It will give us a security partner but we are always after an additional one.
Then we have our service providers. The likes of Gen-I, Datacom, Fujitsu, have quite significant footprints of our technology within their managed services environments. Fronde is another partner.They are working in security as well so they tend to be looking at a couple of our portfolios. They are not restricting themselves to one.
We have also got another partner from Australia called Forte Alpha. It is focused on project and management solutions set.
So what we have now is sort of the underpinnings of most of our portfolios. We have got a partner in most of them. We have to get that more robust quickly.
Westcon is a partner of ours. We have brought out this monitoring product, Nimsoft Snap, that is free, ironically. It is for monitoring up to 30 devices. We are encouraging Westcon to go to market with that. It is obviously a recruitment drive. It is to get people to try the software, run it for 30 devices and then you are hoping they will need 31 devices and then pay for it. We are working with Westcon on that campaign to get that out.
That’s a product that is well suited for broad-based distribution because it is lightweight, easy to install, and quite simple to understand. For Cisco partners especially, there is a lot of good value add, as far as selling these monitoring types of products go, along with the Cisco solution sets. We are using tool sets to help customers understand when they have got to upgrade, when they are getting capacity issues and things like that.
Q: How are you working on the consulting side with partners?
CT:The consulting side is probably the most immature for us. And in NZ totally immature. CapGemini has not got a big focus here. We are doing a lot more with them in Australia now. We are working well with them. The other two we are looking at are Ernst and Young, and Deloitte's. It is fair to say these are new relationships that are months old. I hired only three months ago somebody dedicated to look after that segment of the market. We didn’t have anyone on them, now we do. That would be his focus, to grow that presence in ANZ.
That’s the least successful business even in Australia. So we are focusing on getting some success there first. And I would say, more next year to have a look at which ones are over here. We have talked to CapGemini over here. I am not sure if their maturity is suitable for where we are at, and what we would like them to do as well. That is part of the problem. We can’t make them align to our markets. They have got to be there as well.
Q: Do you have a timeline for taking on partners into each of your portfolios?
CT:In the next three to six months, we need our partner strategy here. In other words, finalise the recruitment. Our financial year starts in April. If I don’t do it quick enough, then it won’t make no impact on the next financial year. So that’s the timeframe.
And we will always be recruiting new partners, because there will always be partners that fall off for various reasons, and you need to keep recruiting and topping up for those that keep falling off the sides.
Q: How often does that happen?
CT: That happens a lot. In Australia, we have got 27 partners that we manage. Three I have taken off this year, and replaced them with another three. It is almost like when we bring a new one in, I take one off.
If a partner is not generating business, it is not healthy for the organisation. It is just not. As much as I would like to stroke CA’s ego and myself, and get more partners, if they are not active, what's the point? It is just better for both parties to agree that at the moment, the time is not right, it is just a business decision and we look at refocusing when perhaps things change. That could be when our portfolio changes, their focus changes, whatever is the case. I think it is just being mature about it and the goal is not to have lots of partners. The goal is to have enough partners who are productive.
We haven’t done that in NZ, because we haven’t got the scale yet, but we will. There is no question about that. I think you need to. We are all in it for business. And that’s not to say we are harsh. You sign up with the best intentions, but for whatever reasons, it just doesn’t pan out sometimes. And it is better to be on top of that fast than let it languish, avoid the difficult conversations and everyone gets bitter about it.
Q: Do you see the number of partners in NZ going up significantly?
CT:It will go up if our portfolio changes. CA is changing very rapidly at the moment. We have got a CEO who is really re-engineering our business. This is Mike Gregoire, he came on at the start of our calendar year. So, really depending on where Mike takes the company will dictate the types of partners we get. Even now we are seeing some changes.
For instance, I need to find a partner now that focuses on power management. It is becoming a big focus for us. I have just recruited a partner in Australia to focus on our power management portfolio, and that will be something I will do here.
With products like Nimsoft Snap, we are also looking at that low end of the market, and finding partners who are much more into that volume-based selling, which we have never spoken to before, because we have never had a portfolio that’s relevant for them. The partners that we look for and take on are sort of dictated by the product strategy in the US - what products they have, whats the best route to market, do we need a partner who can facilitate it or do we need to get one?
I am not a fan of having partners do too much. I am a big believer in having specialisations and if you get partners to cover too much of our portfolios then they are not successful anyway. We struggle internally to sell every product we have, and we have all the resources of being the vendor. If it is a challenge for vendors themselves, then how can a partner do it? It is just an unreal expectation. I am big on that whole specialisation and do that one thing really well. Maybe even two things if they are complementary. But when you starting looking at three or four portfolios, it is just not going to be there.