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Opengear looking to boost partner network for growth

07 Apr 15

Opengear is a relatively young company. Established about 10 years ago in Queensland, their focus is on providing out of band management gear for controlling and managing network equipment even when it's disconnected from the Internet.

They are now a US listed company with sales and marketing headed out of New York with development in Utah. Most of the engineering is still in Brisbane with some in UK.  They're growing at 50% year on year with expectation that will be exceeded this year

Brendan Walsh, the ANZ sales manager for Opengear, says the problem Opengear solves is "How can you get to the kit when you don’t have hands and feet on site?"

Over the last two years they have released three new product sets in this space. The new hardware includes equipment with cellular interfaces and a TFT key server for storing and managing hardware configuration images.

While their focus has been on working with large ISPs and service providers they also have equipment for smaller networks and service providers. This presents a significant opportunity for new business growth.

"With the internet of things - the internet connection is becoming the crucial factor," he says.

As well as managing comms hardware, Opengear can now work with other devices such as door sensors, temperature sensors as well as being able to use its own remote comms capability to deliver some failover comms to a data centre when its primary comms are offline

"Machine to machine, the internet of things - we're putting a management layer that allows you to keep the traffic flowing and keep app time up to a higher level," says Walsh, who was appointed to Opengear about a year ago.

Walsh says the quest for sales growth will require a focus on establishing relationships with new and existing partners.

"The only way we can do that is to work with partners - to put into a place a way to empower them to make the right decisions. The first thing I did was to identify who our partners were and put together a program that attracts them and rewards them for bringing deals to the table".

It seems Opengear is operating a pincer strategy. One side of their strategy is around maintaining their solid relationships with larger players with the other side coming in with smaller MSPs.

"We've picked a couple of premium partners that we were working with but we are targeting two levels - the high end of town through the Fujitsus, Dimension Datas, IBMs. We're looking at the telcos. We're also looking at the MSP space where we're going to be exhibiting at an event in May. That's the smaller end of time but they'd be a real advocate for some of our products," says Walsh.

The program has been operating since last September with Opengear now investing in an awareness campaign to get their message into the market.

Entry into the two-level partner program isn’t just about sales levels according to Walsh.

"To qualify for the program, you have to be the right partner offering the right toolset. It's a discount structure based on where they fit in. We have a deal registration program."

Once a deal is in the system, there's capacity for Opengear to work with the partner on more aggressive pricing in order to maximise the benefits for all parties.

There are about ten partners in to the top tier of the program with Opengear looking to boost that number. The lower tier has between 40 and 50 but Opengear is actively working with this group to help them move into the upper echelon of partners.

Looking ahead, Walsh expects to see closer to 50 premium partners working with the company. Smaller MSPs will be supported with their own program, potentially with a distributor.

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