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IBM-Salesforce alliance sparks new Bluewolf practice

IBM company and Salesforce consultancy Bluewolf will offer services around the new Watson-Einstein integration; other channel news from the week.

Bluewolf, an IBM company and Salesforce consultancy, has created a new practice in which it will provide services around the newly announced IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein capabilities.

The IBM-Salesforce arrangement, announced on March 6, unveiled a global partnership that will integrate the IBM Watson cognitive computing platform with Salesforce Einstein, artificial intelligence technology for customer relationship management.

The new Bluewolf practice, according to the company, will build upon its portfolio of Salesforce and Watson projects. Bluewolf said it will develop "industry-specific accelerators" to spark enterprise adoption of cognitive applications.

In general, the common customers shared by the IBM-Salesforce combo provided impetus for the companies' new relationship.

"IBM and Salesforce already have many mutual enterprise-level customers, some of them quite large and already looking at cognitive roadmaps -- such as GM and OnStar," said Stephanie Trunzo, COO at PointSource, an IBM partner. "So, this [IBM-Salesforce] partnership makes sense from the standpoint of being driven by market demand."

Pivot3 to expand professional services enablement

Pivot3, a hyper-converged infrastructure vendor, plans to relaunch an expanded channel program, which will enable partners to provide professional services to their customers.

Mark Maisano, Pivot3's recently appointed vice president of channel sales, said the new program will debut no later than May 1. Maisano, who previously held channel roles at Acronis, Ingram Micro and Seagate Technology, said he inherited a solid partner program at Pivot3, but is looking for opportunities for expansion.

One of those areas is professional services. Maisano said Pivot3 currently provides most of the installation services around its hyper-converged infrastructure products. He said partners will offer some professional services under their own SKUs and also resell Pivot3 service SKUs. Pivot3 will provide the initial training to get its partners started on services and will also back its partners in a "sell-with and install-with" capacity, he added.

Maisano said the goal is to provide another revenue stream to channel partners who have the capability and want to extend their services into installing hyper-converged infrastructure. Pivot3, for its part, will be able to scale and extend its reach among customers.

"We need IT partners who can go out and execute and provide the same level of service we can," he said.

Datto debuts new partner tiers, MRR focus

Datto Inc., a data protection vendor that sells to managed service providers (MSP) unveiled a new Global Partner Program, which adds an additional partner tier and changes the key program metric from storage capacity to monthly recurring revenue (MRR).

The Datto channel program now has four tiers: Business, Professional, Enterprise and Blue. Sue MacGregor, director of partner marketing at Datto, said the revised structure gives partners more room "to move through the tiers as they increase their business with us."

Samantha Ciaccia, partner marketing manager at Datto, said a large number of Datto partners have been in the top tier and "had nowhere else to go" and no additional program benefits. The new tiers are designed to rebalance the company's partner base. With the realignment, about 50% of the company's partners are in the Business tier, with 38% of partners in the Professional tier, 10% in the Enterprise tier and 2% in the Blue tier, Ciaccia noted.

Partners will traverse those tiers based on MRR rather than storage utilization, which MacGregor said better aligns with its current business model.

"We're not just a storage business anymore," she said.

In another program addition, Datto offers MarketNow, a marketing automation platform that provides prebuilt promotional campaigns, co-branded collateral and social media content. MacGregor said the previous Datto program also had a marketing component but lacked an execution mechanism. MarketNow lets partners "send email campaigns and social media campaigns out to their leads," she said. "A lot of partners don't have that [capability] on their own."

CASB vendor Bitglass debuts partner program

Bitglass, a cloud access security broker (CASB) software vendor, has introduced its first channel program.

The Bitglass Authorized Reseller (BAR) program, launched Thursday, offers channel firms access to resources such as training in a demo environment, digital marketing tools and lead generation programs. The BAR program also aims to host partner engagement events like town hall-style gatherings.

Salim Hafid, product marketing manager at Bitglass, said the company decided to adopt a channel strategy and launch the BAR program in effort to expand its market reach through partners.

Bitglass has signed several partners located across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, including NGXN, VCP, IGX UK and Optiv. The vendor said it will look to onboard up to 20 more partners globally in the next year. Senior vice president of worldwide field operations at Bitglass, Dean Hickman-Smith, said Bitglass will focus partner recruitment on developing "meaningful relationships" with partners.

Other news

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

  • Kaseya, which focuses on IT management offerings for MSPs, entered a partnership with endpoint security vendor Webroot. Under the agreement, Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection has been integrated as a module within Kaseya VSA. Last week, Kaseya launched IT Complete for Higher Education, an IT management product for higher learning institutions.
  • Through an alliance with Google, itopia said it has become Google's first workspace as a service (WaaS) partner for Google Cloud. Itopia markets its WaaS offerings to IT services providers.
  • Storage Guardian said channel partners can now access the company's data storage and recovery offerings via ConnectWise Manage professional services automation software.
  • Cloud security company Armor unveiled a channel program in the U.K. that support partners working under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the privacy legislation for protecting personal data in the EU. GDPR enforcement begins May 25, 2018. According to Armor, the U.K. program provides tools and resources such as deal registration and sales incentives, market development funds, and online and in-person training.
  • Cloud24x7, a cybersecurity services company that provides offerings for channel partners, said Curt Lindenberger, previously Sophos' vice president of technology solutions, has joined Cloud24x7 advisory board.

Additional reporting by Spencer Smith.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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