SonicWall Will Regain Market Share Post Split: Partners


The recent separation of network security company SonicWall from Dell Technologies has evoked positive reactions from its channel partners in India. The partners have welcomed the move as they believe that the new entity would be more agile and focused on its business and channel strategy and hoped that it would soon regain its position in the UTM and Firewall market in the country.

After almost five years of collaboration, SonicWall spun out of Dell Technologies as an independent company in September, with private equity firm Francisco Partners and hedge fund Elliott Management completing the acquisition of the technology giant’s software arm. In conjunction with the creation of an independent entity, SonicWall named cyber security and networking veteran Bill Conner as its president and CEO.

Realigning its focus on the channel after separation, SonicWall also announced a new SecureFirst partner program and Cloud Global Management System (GMS) which aims to enhance its channel engagement in the country.

Partners Give Thumbs Up

Partners feel that post separation from Dell, SonicWall will be more agile to focus on its technological innovation and better address the changing business dynamics in the network security domain. “This is a positive move and will help SonicWall to be more focused and restore its core focus on security looking at the changing landscape in the cybersecurity domain”, said Atul Gosar, Director at Network Techlab (I) Pvt. Ltd.

Sonicwall has clarified that while the company will retain its direct-touch resources for key accounts, such as large enterprises, government, or distributed networks or campus environments, 100 percent of fulfilment will be through the channel. In an exclusive interaction with Channel Times, Scott McCrady, Vice President, SonicWall said that an independent entity will be quick in its response to changing market conditions.

“Becoming an independent company will give us the freedom to react even more quickly to changing market conditions and take advantage of new ideas and opportunities as we identify them”, said Scott McCrady, Vice President, SonicWall.

SonicWall has a traditional channel with about 10,000 partners worldwide. In India, it has over 400 partners. On an average 250-300 partners do regular business with the company every quarter.

Renewed Focus On Partner Ecosystem

SonicWall has always known as a channel focused company and post-split, the company intends to bank on its strong channel engagement worldwide. The newly announced SecureFirst Partner Program is a mix of the best from the vendor’s old SonicWall partner program and elements of the Dell partner program. The program provides a multi-tiered approach for partners that offers up-front and backend rewards designed not only to incentivize partners to sell SonicWall’s solutions, but also to reward that growth and drive new business.

According to McCrady, this program accelerates partner’s ability to be thought leaders and game changers in the ever evolving security landscape. However, Dell will continue to resell SonicWall’s entire product portfolio.“Coupling SonicWall’s superior products with powerful partner reward for valuable benefits, a SecureFirst partner can be confident that when they partner with SonicWall, they partner to win”, McCrady said.

“We will continue our tradition of teaming exclusively with channel partners to identify and deploy the best network security, access security and e-mail security solutions for each environment”, he added.

In an important update for partners as customers, the company also announced its Cloud Global Management System (GMS) offering, which is aimed at simplifying management, enhancing reporting, and reducing overhead. With this offering, SonicWall aims to eliminate the financial, technical support and system maintenance hurdles that are normally associated with traditional firewalls, transforming the security solution into a cloud managed security platform.

Also Read: SonicWall Splits From Dell; Launches New Partner Program

Will SonicWall Regain Lost Glory?

Once a market leader in the UTM and Firewall business in India, SonicWall could not continue its growth momentum post-merger with Dell and that is reflected in its current market position.

“Prior to Dell Acquisition, SonicWall business for us was growing at a steady pace, post-acquisition there were lots of challenges in the market related to the business model, go to market strategy, though all this settled slowly, competition took advantage of the situation and gained sizeable market share”, said Manish Shah, Director-Sales in ITCG India.

It is little surprise then that Dell offered the company market exposure and entry into the large enterprise deals, the company somewhere could not bring technological innovation in its offerings that could match market demand for advanced security tools. While SonicWall left behind on the front of R&D and product innovations, new entrance such as Cyberoam (now part of Sophos) captured the potential market share.

Partners point out that prior the acquisition, SonicWall was the number one UTM and Firewall brand in the country and the company is not even in top three network security companies. They now hope that as an independent company, SonicWall team will be more agile to take decisions as it will not have to follow large hierarchy like Dell.

“SonicWall’s numbers have only grown after the merger with Dell, however, did that translated into their mind share, I would say not really. In fact, SonicWall has de-grown after the merger on a technical front and that reflected in their market share in India. Therefore, now after becoming an independent company, it will be critical to see that how SonicWall come up with better technology, R&D mechanism, better updates and customer support mechanism,” said Rajeev Mamidanna, Director at Eden Infosol.

Partners Expect Huge From SonicWall

Announcing a slew of new initiatives, Sonicwall said that services and customer support will be a key area of focus for the company. Similarly, services, customer support and defined strategy for IoT and mobility will key areas of focus for the company. The company has announced to double down on its next generation firewall features, GMS and managed service providers (MSPs), as well as distributed network.

Partners have huge expectations from SonicWall on the front of new innovation in products, improvement in Support processes and better incentives and margins for partners. “We have been associated with SonicWall since last 9 years and expect SonicWall to grow post separation from Dell. We expect lots of new product line ups, new features, clear road map, listening to challenges of partners and customers and centralized focus on product lines to come in the next few months”, said Shah.

Endorsing similar thoughts, Gosar said, “Being an independent company, SonicWall should come out with new offerings to address new challenges that customers are facing. They also should be able to grow existing partners, who have been working with SonicWall since a long time.”

Partners are optimistic about the faster growth of SonicWall after the de-merger. However, it will be interesting to see that how the company carves out its business and channel strategies to regain its mind share among partners as well as customers.

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