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Professional services business development focus of new Gigamon program

Gigamon introduced a program to help VARs and SIs build professional services practices around its platform; other IT channel news from the week.

Traffic-visibility vendor Gigamon Inc. has launched a program for its community of VARs and systems integrators to help them with professional services business development. 

The Professional Service Partner Program provides educational resources and technical training to guide partners through the enablement process. The program begins with an assessment of a partner's skill set -- done jointly with Gigamon -- to determine which technologies the partner has a handle on. Gigamon then works with the partner to fill in the gaps and ensure it can deliver services. At the program's end, the partner will work closely with Gigamon on initial customer engagements, with Gigamon shadowing its first one or two opportunities.

Barbara Spicek, VP of worldwide sales, GigamonBarbara Spicek

According to Barbara Spicek, vice president of worldwide sales at Gigamon, based in Santa Clara, Calif., Gigamon's approach to enablement is different than what other vendors in its space tend to do, such as requiring partners to complete an onerous amount of certifications.

"We're doing ... a vendor-assisted model, where we do everything from [partners'] skill assessments in the beginning to really making them proficient at the end," she said of the professional services business development program. "We're offering a complete path to success."

Spicek said most VARs and systems integrators over the years have wanted to augment their business models from selling products to selling solutions, and adding software and services. From that perspective, she said the Professional Service Partner Program is a unique opportunity "to improve their business models for more profitability," as well as their ability to be their customers' trusted adviser.

Ryan Morris, senior director of operations at Blackwood Associates Inc. (BAI), a VAR based in Annapolis, Md., said delivering professional services around technology allows VARs to become stickier with customers.

BAI focuses on network monitoring and orchestration, and offers short-term professional services -- typically three- to 30-day engagements -- to ensure the products they sell are installed properly and customers are comfortable with the new technology, he said. BAI has partnered with Gigamon since 2004, the year Gigamon was founded.

With the new Professional Service Partner Program, Gigamon is "embracing the channel to deliver [professional services around the Gigamon platform] and helping to ensure that they're successful," Morris said.

The Gigamon program will initially focus on the professional services business development of its existing partners, which includes about 250 VARs in the U.S., before recruiting additional partners that have security practices.

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Channel news roundup for the week of April 4

Here's a look at the news highlights from the week:

  • Egenera Inc., which provides wholesale cloud services and cloud management to channel partners, will launch its CloudMigrate service on May 1. The migration service aims to let service providers more readily move their customers' virtual or physical servers to Egenera's managed cloud. The service supports Microsoft Windows Server 2003/2008/2012 and Linux source environments. In other news, Egenera said Direct Distribution, a distributor based in Dublin, will begin marketing Egenera's Xterity Cloud Services under the DirectCloud brand.
  • VM-aware storage vendor Tintri bolstered its global partner program with more products, training and incentives. The program now features new membership tiers -- Registered, Authorized, Premier and Elite; added market development funds; a not-for-resale purchase program; and enhanced certifications, training and enablement resources available on the partner portal. Additionally, Tintri increased sales incentives and introduced a rewards payment system to streamline the incentives process.
  • Tintri also made news this week by striking an agreement with Promark Technology, an Ingram Micro-owned company. Under the agreement, Promark will make Tintri's VM-aware products available to Promark's North American resellers and systems integrators.
  • Enterprise cloud company ServiceNow agreed to acquire ITapp, a cloud automation software vendor. The buyout will allow ServiceNow to expand its capabilities for simplifying service deployments that use public, private and hybrid clouds, according to the company. The acquisition is an all-cash transaction expected to close this month.
  • Stratoscale unveiled the PartnerFirst partner program to sell its software-defined data center product, Stratoscale Symphony. The program offers sales and marketing support, among other benefits. The vendor also announced a distribution agreement with Ingram Micro to provide the product.
  • Fresh off its Annual Members Meeting in Chicago this month, nonprofit trade association CompTIA expanded its portfolio of education and training resources with the new Quick Start Guide to Education IT. The Guide to Education provides solution providers with insight into the current state of the education market in the U.S.

Additional reporting by John Moore.

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