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Simplicity, Flexibility and Profitability: What It Really Means for Riverbed Partners

Lara O'Brien
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Simplicity, Flexibility and ProfitabilityWhen we set out to create Riverbed Rise in 2017, we knew that our existing, competency-based system was too complex and out of date for today’s dynamic market. We knew we needed to find a new way of doing things.

So, we paused, and we looked outward—to the industry, and to our partners—and we asked what needed to happen to create an entirely new type of program that would help partners capitalize on both existing and emerging opportunities. Riverbed Rise is the result of listening to partners, embracing the idea of transformation, and reinventing our partner program based on three cornerstone concepts: simplicity, flexibility and profitability.

Those three terms have appeared in every post and announcement related to Riverbed Rise, but I wanted to take a step back and reflect on what each means to Riverbed and our partners, and how they work together to create an effective program that drives greater value for our customers.

Cornerstone #1: Simplicity

The previous Riverbed Performance Partner Program was, as many across the industry are, a competency-based program that placed heavy emphasis on compliance. During our analysis, we realized that channel managers were spending up to 50% of their time managing the requirements of the program, rather than using that time to drive business through the program. It was restrictive, and that made it hard for partners to keep up as new products and solutions became available.

The first step toward driving simplicity into Riverbed Rise was to let go of the compliance-based program. The result was liberating. We know that partners understand their responsibility to deliver solutions to meet and exceed customer expectations; that’s how they win business. A partner program should want to offer training, not because it’s a requirement, but because partners are going to use it in order to build capabilities and differentiate themselves. From a simplicity standpoint, Riverbed Rise allows partners to decide what type of training they need that is right for their business—it’s their choice.

Next, we worked to make it easy for partners to understand how they can achieve their program level and status, and how they can earn dividends and spend rewards. We got rid of the complex equations around certifications and compliance for achieving Program levels, discounts and rewards. Instead, the program is tied to your partner level and the business that you drive in the channel. Partners earn dividends on qualified activities that work within their go-to-market strategy, and they get rewards that they can choose to spend in a variety of ways. It’s very simple.

While the program has just launched to the channel, we did vet Riverbed Rise among members of our partner community. The response we’ve received over the last couple months has been very favorable. Partners state that they’ve not seen a program like this before, asserting that it’s easy to understand, simple to achieve dividends, and that it will be an effective tool to drive results and grow their businesses.

Cornerstone #2: Flexibility

Riverbed Rise is all about choice. As the business world transforms, Riverbed continues to grow and change. We’re driving hard into the world of cloud, and expanding our portfolio of products to meet the changing needs and consumption models of customers. In order to meet these needs, flexibility is key and we’re driving alignment with that concept into Riverbed Rise.

The program enables partners to adopt innovative new technologies while adapting to the ways their customers are consuming solutions. Riverbed Rise rewards and recognizes all types of partners and selling modalities be it traditional resale, cloud subscription services, managed Services and more. This enables us to work with the entire landscape of partners to support their specific go-to-market strategies.

Additionally, Riverbed Rise has baked flexibility into how partners earn dividends and spend rewards. Rather than prescribing the manner in which partners spend their rewards, they can choose from cash rebates or reinvest into training and business development related activities such as specialist resources to drive refresh efforts, NFR demo gear, services tool kits etc. There’s a rapid pace of change in the industry, and by allowing partners the flexibility to leverage rewards for reinvestment, they can grow their business to drive even greater profitability.

Cornerstone #3: Profitability

With the focus Riverbed Rise places on simplicity and flexibility, rather than required compliance, we’re better able to reward our partners for performance. The focus is simple, we are rewarding both expansion of existing accounts and acquisition of new customers. How they do this? We leave it to them to determine, they know their strengths and differentiated value.

It puts the partner in control of their go-to-market strategy, business model and delivery modality.

Additionally, Riverbed is rewarding partners who create new, differentiated offerings, such as embedded solutions and services (ESS). The benefits and access to enablement and marketing can help bring an ESS to market faster and at a lower cost, the result is greater profitability for the partner not just at the time of the sale, but also in the investment and expansion stage of service creation, particularly those containing embedded technologies.

Let’s get started

As business evolves, the shift to cloud consumption models changes the partner’s value, and we’re enabling our partners to thrive within this rapid pace of change. We understand that everyone is in a state of transformation, and all our Riverbed partners are in different stages. Riverbed Rise is a program that enables partner success both where you’re at and throughout each continuing step on your transformation journey.

Our continued success as a vendor is dependent on the success of our partners, and we want to enable you to innovate, adapt and meet your customers’ needs through this simple, flexible and profitable program. We’re very excited for our partner community to get started, and to experience the benefits of Riverbed Rise.