Our “renewed” portal simplifies business for partners


RSA has recently revamped its portal which now not only to addresses the requirements of the partners, but also simplify the business process. In an interaction with, Amitabh Jacob, channel manager-India and SAARC, RSA discussed the company’s initiative of revamping the partner schemes and its expected results.

RSA recently has introduced multiple enhancements in its Partner Portal. What are the changes implemented by the company?
Our partner program ‘RSA SecurWorld’ has seen novel changes. The recent enhancements announced basically comes under two areas. First is the tool itself named Partner Central, which allows them to gain access to everything within RSA – products, technology, solutions, etc.. Also, the portal is now the basis of running programs with partners, be it marketing, leads, rebates and incentive, which were executed through a manual process. Now, you can see the technological advancements in the portal, which basically address the needs of partners and have simplified the way we do business with the community.

The second enhancement is the Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) Program for partners, which is officially functional. It allows partners to access certain tools within the program, which will help them to setup as an MSSP. If already an MSSP is in that business, it will help them to enhance their capabilities. Plenty of products and solutions are offered on the MSSP pricing model, for example Archer. With this program, we now have the capability to directly tie up with a partner as MSSP’s of RSA.

What is RSA’s go-to-market strategy in India?
RSA in India has approached the market in such a manner where different partnerships focus on different areas. We have categorized our markets further for our convenience into corporate, enterprise and commercial. Enterprise and corporate are typically the larger customers in the country. The predominant segments in this would be BFSI, Telecom, Government and to an extent IT/ITES also. The commercial segment presently is not domain based. Under the commercial segment, we cater to all sectors excluding BFSI, Telecom, and Government. Commercial could be regionalized; we have customers as small as Rs.50-60 crore turnover company because now they are looking at moving out of traditional antivirus into some level of information security as well. It is relatively new initiative from RSA.

Which vertical in the commercial segment can be termed as early adopters?
Again it depends upon the product we are talking about. If we look at enVision, large acceptability has been observed in IT/ITES segment today across north, south and a little in west; as this segment is driven by compliance and for such companies monitoring what happens in an environment becomes very critical. Solutions related to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) is seeing traction every where across the country. This is valid for everybody from an enterprise to a commercial entity, as nobody can afford loss of data.

What is your opinion on the potential of SMB segment for solutions and products offered by RSA?
To be honest, we are currently not focusing on the SMB segment as our commercial focus is relatively new. If you look at RSA’s presence in India, our growth has been in double-digit for last five-six years. But predominantly the focus has been on enterprise segment and currently there’s enough scope in A Class cities to gain share from, before we venture outside. Even the SME and mid-market customer in the A Class city are enough to tap as of now.

Apart from Partner Central and MSSP, are there programs which the company is executing this financial year?
I will not call the following as new initiatives but consolidation. Some of our programs and a lot of what RSA has been doing in India are active, but our initiative is to take them to the set of partner we have and consolidate at the level. We will launch periodic programs, which are about bundling, segment specific solutions; these will be continuous. But I don’t think we plan to launch any thing dramatic or new at least for the few months till we get a view of how the consolidation is playing out.

What kind of training and certification are we discussing here?

We have a lot of generic phased enablement which happens for our partners’ regularly. Besides, we have a certification track for those partners who are partners who are investing in our business. These set of people through the partner portal can do sales and technical certification. We have waived off the charges for partners. We mandate that all our partners need to have a minimum number of sales and technical certification to be eligible for some of our programs.
So, first track is generic training that we provide on a regular basis and the other is sales driven authorization, which is typically on a quarterly basis.

How do you go about executing a solution implementation?
In the enterprise space, the nature of that market is such that we have a lot of business which are tender based. From a perspective of leads and engagements in this segment, I would say it is a fair mix of opportunities which are RSA led and partner led. If you see the caliber and the class of partner, which include large SIs like HCLWiproInfosys, Tech Mahindra, they lead their own engagement, and here RSA is a tiny part of much larger solution. But at the same time, if you look outside this set of players in any enterprise space there are a lot of private customers in which RSA leads a lot of engagements. Right from identifying the opportunity because of the relationship or historical reasons and forward till its completion. Here, the partner takes the engagement forward based on their skill level.

In the commercial space, it is completely partner lead engagements. Even if I find an opportunity through our marketing or any other program, it goes to the partner, who also brings his own lead. He can call on to RSA to assist from a technical stand point, demos or even a sales call, pricing definitely. But to answer your question, this space is predominantly partner led and the enterprise and corporate is a mix of partner and RSA. Now this is from a sales engagement perspective.

As far as implementation is concerned, it is RSA led, as we have a professional service practice and certainly in complex installations RSA professional services we ensure to successful implementation of the same. And this is applicable for enterprise and commercial. In commercial space, if it is not very complex, we have cases where large partners can get in and do it themselves. The moment it comes to enVision and DLP, which is slightly more complex, then we pull professional services to execute the implementation. To further facilitate these activities, we are launching something called Authorized Service Network (ASN) in OND quarter.

How does the profit margin work out for channel partners?
We roll out targets for our partners on a quarterly basis and there are incentives on achieving 100 percent. The moment they cross 130 percent, we have another incentive structure that comes in. The incentive package is based on a percentage of sales completed by a partner. The range of such incentives is between 1 – 6 percent. Likewise, partners who bring in new opportunities to RSA through a deregistration form they get incentive for that. We try and establish ‘qualitative objectives’ in any partnerships on a quarterly basis; if they achieve it they win certain incentives. A percentage of what they sell accrues in the backend as fund that they can use for demand generation. We have a mix and match for different levels of partnership.

To elaborate on the different levels of partnerships, we have three tiers of partners which are beyond the registered type partners. Signature, the highest level gets the highest levels of incentives and we have two qualifying criteria for partners to get in there: one is the amount of skills and certification the organization has and secondly, the kind of annual revenue they work with us. Solution, the middle tier is the tier where most of our partners of the commercial space play. And that tier has slightly lower levels of achievements and revenues as well as ramification. The third and final tier which is called Access is literally the entry level tier; we don’t focus on these partners at all. So the third tier is taken care by our distributors. Currently, we have three distributors- Redington, M.Tech and WEP Peripherals. I believe that this set of partners in the future will address the requirements of the B and C Class cities.

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