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Vernier Networks Steps Up Partner Recruitment
By John Moore, Ziff Davis Internet


Sankar Venkatraman is seeking partners that place a premium on consulting.

As director of worldwide channel marketing at Vernier Networks Inc., Venkatraman has embarked on a campaign to recruit 38 partners over the next six months. Vernier develops network infrastructure security products such as EdgeWall, a security appliance that screens users and devices and restricts use according to an organization's security policy.

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Policy is the key word here and the reason Venkatraman wants partners who can do more than slap an appliance in place. The goal: find companies that lead with security consultation as opposed to a product.

"We need solution providers who consult with clients to talk about their policy requirements," he said.

PointerClick here to read more about IBM lending its sales force to partner.

Venkatraman pointed to Gotham Technology Group LLC as an example. The New York-area consulting firm provides access strategy advice as one of its services and is a Vernier partner.

Venkatraman also cited Greenwich Technology Partners, a New York solutions provider, as the type of company that fits the security profile he is seeking. Vernier has yet to sign Greenwich, which was acquired last month by Acumen Solutions Inc.

Venkatraman's search primarily focuses on potential partners in the Northeast, Northwest and Southeast.

Companies wishing to partner commit to technical and sales training and certification in the Vernier solution. The price for joining the company's Vantage Partner Program is $3,000.

Partner benefits include the usual mix of marketing programs, technical support and demo equipment. But Vernier also offers the profit-boosting advantage of limited distribution, Venkatraman said. He said no more than three partners will be assigned to a given region. In addition, Vernier deals directly with solution providers, rather than reaching partners through distributors.

Vernier has made a point of recruiting sales people from channel-related organizations – resellers or vendors that work wholly through the channel. In addition, the company says it takes into account partner input when making improvements to its technology.

Deal registration is part of the company's channel management plan, as it is for a growing number of partner-oriented vendors. Solution providers who register deals with Vernier receive a 15 percent discount for an edge over latecomers.

Partners are measured on factors beyond the typical revenue yardstick. Considerations include the number of engineers who undergo technical training, the number of partnering events a partner participates in, and the number of engagements pursued with Vernier Networks. The idea is to measure a partner's "total involvement" with the company, Venkatraman said.

PointerClick here to read more about HP adding distributors to PartnerOne program.

The company generates 90 percent of its revenue through the channel and Venkatraman plans to push that figure to 100 percent. He expects the company's channel strategy and product focus will prove instrumental in reaching its market objectives.

As for the product angle, Venkatraman cited his company's emphasis on network vulnerability inside the firewall. He noted visitors to an organization – contractors on temporary assignment, for example – greatly contribute to incursions. As a network edge product, EdgeWall checks user authentication and authorization, while it scans for device vulnerabilities and policy compliance.

The visitor angle may provide a conversation starter for solution providers looking for new business. Asking customers about their processes for dealing with temporary workers is an important part of the policy discussion, in Venkatraman's view.

And that discussion could provide the springboard for a consulting engagement.

     
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