"GSI Partners are incredibly important to SUSE because they are influencers for very large customers"
In a chat with VARINDIA, Phillip Cockrell, VP - Global Channels, SUSE discusses about the GSI partners, channel strategy, enablement of Partners and many more
For SUSE, Global System Integrator (GSI) partners hold enormous amount of importance. They influence large customers not just in India but also across globe. These partners are important for SUSE and its strategy. The company is continuing its investment in the business and has helped the partners to grow.
To reinforce SUSE’s commitment to grow its partner ecosystem relationship, the company organizes a special summit for GSI partners where they are invited to join and have several discussions on key notes, awarded and recognized for the work done together in joint collaboration and bring out new improved ways to help its customers. The whole idea behind the summit is to help its GSIs understand the importance of the business to SUSE and work with them to grow ours and their business.
“Of our partnerships, we see that the GSIs are incredibly important to SUSE because they are influencers for very large customers and that is not just inside of India, but that’s worldwide. That is why we have put this special event together that we have got, that we are having today. To me, we have continued to make that investment in that business and that really helps our partner ecosystem in India because those large partner GSIs are based here in India. So, there is the direct investment and then the halo effect of those investments being made in India and we see that really helps expand our channel and create new demand with new types of partners,” discusses Phillip.
SUSE believes in a partnership which is built around SUSE skillset rather than the number of transactions done with the partner. The company first finds new partners, recruit them and then build their skillsets which empowers them to climb up.
“In our partner program, we have three different categories or levels of partners – at the base we call it Registered partners and the idea here is that anyone can become a partner with SUSE. We do not measure the value of a partnership by the number of transactions that a partner does, instead we look at it from the perspective of what is the allotment of skills in that partnership that is built around SUSE. So, that means at different levels of the partner program - at the base you have Registered partners, in the second tier you have Accredited partners and at the top of that triangle you have Solution partners. Our strategy is to find new partners, recruit them, have them become registered partners and then build the skillsets and enable the partners to move up that pyramid and try to create more skills in the market. We think that by doing that, we are going to create a larger demand for SUSE and also enable us to really continue this high level of growth with our partners,” explains Phillip.
Enablement of Partners
To enable its partners, SUSE has come up with special team of technical trainers to infuse skills within the GSI partners. The company has invested in mobile training labs also.
“We have created a special team of technical trainers and their only mission is to create skills within those GSI partners that are around SUSE, they are dedicated to specific partners. We are investing in creating mobile training labs with very high-end equipment that can run our advanced technology solutions such as SUSE Enterprise Storage, SUSE Containers as a Service Platform, SUSE Cloud Application Platform. All of these different software-defined and application development and delivery solution products, we are enabling our partners by creating tailor made training for those partners and then just continually training around the clock and building networks of people with SUSE certifications within those partners,” reveals Phillip.
Opportunity for Partners
SUSE has partnered with SAP and other technology vendors which further accelerate opportunities for its partner ecosystem. Elaborating on the same, Phillip says, “SUSE and SAP have such a strong relationship that dates back to more than 20 years, every one of our partnerships has some overlap or expertise built around SAP. It is an opportunity for all of our partners to take advantage of SAP which is growing everywhere and SUSE is the #1 default choice for SAP.
We have a whole variety of alliance partners which range from hardware OEM partners to cloud service providers. We were actually on the stage talking about TCS, we have created a special solution with TCS with their Enterprise Cloud Platform, and now that they have SAP as a service offering, and that is a unique solution that SAP, TCS and SUSE created together and that is now being utilised by customers all over the world.”
Upcoming Technologies from SUSE
SUSE offers OpenStack and Enterprise storage products, with that the company is witnessing a pull with its customers and it is channelizing the demand to help its partners grow their business. SUSE not only leverage the existing partner base but also appoints new partners.
“In our software defined area of the business, we have a couple of different products in that category. One is our OpenStack product and another is storage product – SUSE Enterprise Storage. We have just released version 6 of that product and we really see that that is driving a lot of demand with our customers. Also, we are leveraging all of that demand to help grow our partner business and partner ecosystem, so having a storage product means not only do we leverage our existing partnerships that we already have but it also gives us the opportunity to recruit new types of partners and build new types of skillsets in those partners and deliver differentiated solutions to our customers,” says Phillip.