CW: How do you think your enterprise channel partners should pitch WatchGuard to execute profitable business deals?
Robertson: We try to address the concerns of large enterprise system integrators by presenting two questions: What can we do for you and how can we position ourselves better to help you. We tell them clearly that XTM is not just a security solution, but is a TCO story. With large integrators, security solutions are usually a part of a larger project with technologies like virtualization and storage which tend to get more priority. The value proposition of one platform console and other features of XTM free a CIO's budget and help them invest in other technologies. WatchGuard's RapidDeploy is a cloud-based configuration utility that eliminates the need for IT professionals to pre-configure devices or travel to the project locations. Customers and partners can order the appliance from a single distributor and it will be shipped directly to the customer. It's a huge benefit for partners working with organizations with distributed networks. We have also identified a few MSS partners to explore the UTM-as-a-service model in India.
CW: Compared to Cisco and Juniper, you seem to be less aggressive about the enterprise segment and fighting off competitors.
Robertson: A certain amount of business might sound attractive in the enterprise market. We have a sizeable customer base here. That space has two elements--core network and data sold. Most large enterprise vendors manage their network, but often WatchGuard products are bundled in it. SMBs continue to be our big strength but the next big opportunity is the mid-market and not the enterprise. Let Check Point, Cisco, Juniper, and the rest battle it out as their framework is largely geared for the enterprise space
CW: Considering the competition, isn't the mid-market a tough space to do business in?
Robertson: Our primary distributors in India are RAH Infotech and iValue who work with their set of channel partners. We also engage with a focused set of solution providers in the tier-2 space. There has been tremendous growth in the past six to 12 months in terms of geographical reach. A substantial part of that growth has come through large, complex deals. Apart form metros, we are targeting B- and C-class cities where many mid-sized companies are located. We plan to align with more tier-1 partners in the latter half of this year.
CW: According to Gartner, 20 percent of the VPN/firewalls will be deployed on a virtual switch on a hypervisor and not on a physical security appliance. Are partners ready for this major shift?
Robertson: It's still early days in terms of adoption. We have released products on a virtual platform like XTM for both VMware and Hyper-V. We also have the XCS product on VMware. Most customers will invest in the physical appliance with a virtual strategy in place in the next couple of years. Our SMB dominance will certainly drive more Hyper-V for virtual UTM. Since the last year, a majority of the partners we've worked with are VMware partners too. This is a natural fit and, therefore, our partners are being empowered according to changing trends
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