CommVault outsources channel support with the support of its channel

Storage software vendor CommVault, unable to keep up with the marketing and sales-assistance demands of its channel, hired a services company to outsource channel support.

On April 2 data-management software vendor CommVault will roll out a new distribution program using Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, (ECS) as software outlet and marketing partner.

ECS, a business unit of Arrow Electronics, provides technology companies with engineering services as well as financing, certification and training services.

The move, said Steven Matheson, vice president of channel sales at CommVault, is as much an attempt to expand its reseller reach as it is a realization that CommVault could not give its existing partners the support they needed to close deals and increase their revenues.

According to Matheson, CommVault was not doing much to help its 100 partners take advantage of opportunities in field marketing, field event and field engagements; the result was a loss of business for both CommVault and its partners.

Matheson also said partners wanted help in everything from setting up a lead-generation-call campaign to doing an actual field-based event where CommVault, another vendor and the reseller speak to a customer about solving their technology problem.

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"Commvault did not have the resources internally to be able to help with that, and our resellers told us that was a critical component for them," Matheson said. "The advantage of moving to the Arrow model is it enables CommVault to expand the number of customers that we get our products in front of in a way that is efficient for CommVault and frankly allows us to have a scalable model," Matheson said.

Sandy Cohn, general manager and director of technical services at Albany, N.Y.-based CommVault partner Atec Group said his company lost opportunities in backup and disaster recovery because there was no marketing effort put forth by CommVault.

"We could have doubled or tripled our sales with the proper marketing efforts behind it but were never able to penetrate markets. I think we've definitely missed out in the last two years on opportunity that we could have had," Cohn said.

By contrast, Cohn said his company has been conducting a pilot program with Arrow and CommVault.

"We are already working on a very large deal and Arrow has put together the finance package in just two days. That's something CommVault could not offer," Cohn said.

"One of the advantages Arrow brings is that Arrow has a full financing organization that can allow a reseller whose developing a solution of HP and CommVault or IBM and CommVault, to finance all of the components through the single point of purchase, which is Arrow," said Matheson

Victor Dellovo, president of Modcomp Inc. of Deerfield Beach, Fl. has also had difficulties with CommVault.

"The quotes took forever to come back. We would do a configuration with their engineers and our engineers and we would need to get pricing from them, and they were never right," said Dellovo.

Forrester Research analyst Stephanie Balaouras said she expects the deal will help CommVault partners be more effective in selling the company's products.

"If it's an arrangement that's going to help them grow their channel partners faster than they could organically, then I think it's a pretty smart arrangement," Balaouras said.

In the meantime, CommVault is moving to a points-based system in which partners can now get points for the investments they make in training, certifications and marketing events. Currently there are four levels -- platinum, gold, silver and bronze. The company wants to reward partners based more on their investment in CommVault's products, services and training programs rather than revenues.

"We reward the reseller for the total investment they make in CommVault. When a reseller brings in a dollar of license, service or support revenue, our point systems rewards them," Matheson said. "If they get a technical certification for one of their employees or if they do field marketing events our partner program rewards them," Matheson added.

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