Interview: We sell products, partners sell outcomes - CA Technologies (Part II)
- 02 December, 2013 06:28
In the second 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 company's focus areas for the region and the ways it wants to enter new market segments.
Q: How do you see the nature of your partners changing in New Zealand going forward?
CT:Our ratio of NZ partners is half resellers and half service providers. That ratio will change. If I had twelve resellers, I would be happy. But we have some very unique products for the service provider market.
What I see, we are almost at that level of maturity where we can break out the service providers and treat it like a microcosm of the business. And I hope to get NZ to that same place, where service providers running to a whole different beat than the reseller business. And for service providers the scalability isn’t really an issue, because once you embed the technology in there, they just use it, and they just consumer more capacity as they bring in more deals.
It is a very successful model for us, and I potentially see more SPs than resellers eventually.
It is a hard entry point but once you are in there, it is a lot easier. Service providers sell a service by definition. They don’t go out and say we have CA monitoring. They go out there and say we are going to take over your IT monitoring, and so they are selling at a level above the technology and are focusing on what the outcomes of those are. Whatever services sit under that is largely irrelevant for them, so we find that once we do get in there, it does not impact the sales people a lot because we just give them the high-level messaging. We are becoming very good at working out how service providers can build extra revenue. So it is not about installing something as a hygiene thing but about services that can add incremental revenue to them.
An example of that is we have a tool set that is codenamed Austin. It is designed to run on a small footprint of 14 virtual servers for providers. It is a service desk, a service catalogue, wizards, and below that a series of cartridges, which are capabilities that we plug in. So that can be monitoring capability, provisioning capability, database monitoring – whatever it is. There are about 11 cartridges now. All of this is automated and fits in 14 virtual servers. The service provider does not pay anything, until they have a customer on it that they are billing. So it is a free entry point, it is all automated on these 14 virtual servers, and then you can demonstrate the capability to the customers. When you get them on the service and you are charging them, then it is just an automatic billing process up through to us.
Q: How does partner delivery work with Cloud and SaaS options, especially since most of your products are available in both on-premise and off-premise options?
CT:Just because it is running in the Cloud, doesn’t mean there are no integration points or reports to configure, training to provide, ongoing support assistance. SaaS relieves the necessity to servicing a datacentre. But it doesn’t relieve the necessity to build reporting, build dashboards, interface, APIs into other technologies. So there is still lots of opportunities with partners. To a degree I think there are more opportunities with SaaS because they are not so bogged down trying to do the low-value parts, like getting the service up and running. All that is taken care, so they can truly focus on delivery customer outcomes.
That is the direction we are going in.
We have one in beta in Australia. It is about to be released commercially within a month or so, in the early new year time frame. We expect lots in New Zealand. We have been talking to many of the service providers here. The great thing about it is there is no entry point. We are not asking them to pay upfront. We are saying, here’s something automated, easy to deploy, you can then publish services to customers. If they want to consume them then they pay some sort of fee, and we derive something out of the backend of that. So it is an easy model, and that is the model the market wants now.
Q: What are your efforts with partner training?
CT:We have a partner program. You get free training with that. Training certifies you, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you are enabled. The real enablement is around having architects invested into their business. That is an area that I am looking at growing in our business for the next financial year, is our partner architects. We are seeing that is really the source of enablement.
One of the things I have tried in the last three months is hiring an architect in Queensland who is working only out of the partner offices. I am not letting him go to the CA offices at all. He just works everyday out of the partners. It is an interesting strategy, but the partners are appreciating it. It is easy to trust and rapport, because he is there all the time.
If that works, next year, I would like to do more of that and pushing more architects to get swipe cards and desks and work out of partner offices as much as they can. Unless you have architects presenting to them, going out to meetings, doing ride-alongs, talking to pre-sales, helping them do POCs – unless we do all that, we are not getting them enabled.
We have got quite a mature model in all those steps now. It is a lot more sophisticated, than just saying ‘cool, you are certified, now you are enabled.’ That's just the tip of the iceberg now. We have a whole defined process on how the architect team runs through to complete that engagement.
Next year, it's my to expand in NZ. They will work out of offices, but I haven’t thought that through yet. There are a lot more partners here for us to touch. So might be a bit more difficult. I have to think about it. I am three months away from making that decision.
Q: What are the biggest challenges for CA and its partners in the region?
CT:The biggest challenge in general is that lot of our partners are used to selling volume based products. And it is getting them, culturally, to accept that you are used to a one month sales cycle, now you are going to enter a six to nine months sales cycle. We do find that a lot of partners want to enter this enterprise market, they understand it is high margin, they know there are lots of services and they get much more sticky with the customers, and they want that. It is not really volatile and especially with CA, not a very competitive market. You haven’t got resellers everywhere cost-cutting the market to tiny margins.
But what we find very quickly is that they struggle with forecasting and the cost of the sale. We are learning to explain that upfront a lot better and we are begging to really get them to buy into that. You are not going to get a deal in a month, but you will get a deal, and if you do it right, you will get a big pipeline fast, and six to nine months later you should be looking at some rewards. That is our first hurdle.
The second hurdle for us is getting partners trained to do our implementations. The pre-sales work is a lot easier, the sales work is pretty straight forward. But, we really want our partners to take more implementation business and not rely on CA services as much. That is a challenge, because you have to find the partners that have the skill sets. You have got to get some confidence that they can do that work for you. We are conservative and thorough in that area, but that is because no one wants a bad deployment. That is challenging for us.
Our portfolio is broad, but we get partners to focus typically on just one product set. It’s not really the breadth that is the challenge. There is always other challenges. Each product portfolio have their challenges. They have all go different competitors, different price points, different values for business.
In fact, partners have a big advantage over CA. CA sells a product. If a partner sells a product, they typically selling it as part of a solution and they can deliver an outcome. CA sell a product, partner sells a product as part of the solution that delivers an outcome. CA struggles to deliver an outcome because we don’t sell a whole solution set. And that’s where partners are adding huge value for us, because they are doing something that is not possible for CA to do.
Q: Do you have any particular portfolio that will be your focus area for the next one year?
CT:Because we have consolidated we have four key areas. All four are big focuses. The security portfolio, with a product called Cloud Minder, which is a SaaS identify and access management solution, we are quite unique in the market with that. We are seeing huge interest in that.
In the monitoring space, that whole lightweight monitoring that is enabled by products such as Nimsoft Snap is big. Application performance management is big.
Mobile management is becoming a new area for us as well. We expect, very quickly, to have capability that is as good as anyone else in the market. That is becoming a very important focus for us. That is also a natural extension. If we have customers using our application monitoring, why not extend that into application monitoring over mobile devices? So sort of a natural extension of the focus areas we have.
There is the Clarity portfolio management portfolio, and the $50,000 SaaS version. We see a lot of customers that have outgrown Microsoft Project and need more robust management around what they are doing with their investments and their projects, and how they are aligned with corporate responsibility. So we are still seeing a lot of growth in that.
The last one, the newest area that we have entered into, is around what we call application delivery. That's where we are accelerating the delivery of applications through that software delivery lifecycle. We are doing that in two ways. One is making the environment a lot faster to stand up for developers so they can do their testing. The second is having some automation tools to release that product into production.
So that’s a high level. Those four core portfolios are very important to us. There are a whole bunch of products there, some are less significant now, and some of them are really sold as adjuncts to our main products, because they add some sort of value. We don’t sell them as stand-alone anymore. I wouldn’t say one pillar is more important than the other. They are all pretty even.