One-on-one with new Websense channel chief Matt Hynes

During Websense‘s North American channel conference last month in San Diego, Calif., the company introduced executive Matt Hynes in a new role, as the company’s vice-president of worldwide channel sales.

Not long before that, two other channel executive moves within the company were also announced. David Roberts, the former senior vice-president of sales for the Americas, and Geoff Haggart, who handled channel sales for EMEA and APAC, suddenly “stepped down” from their respective positions. Not much is known about why Roberts and Haggart left their posts, or where they’re off to next, but “both are in the process of transitioning out of the company,” according to a Websense spokesperson.

Now in his new role for over a month, Hynes said his primary focus will be on Websense’s global partner community and providing the channel with the necessary tools and resources to ensure they achieve continued enablement and success.

CDN had the chance to speak with Hynes to ask about his new role with the company, his partner objectives and what his personal commitment to Websense partners is.

CDN: Before joining Websense, you held the same position at ArcSight. How are each business’ channels different from each other and why switch companies?

Matt Hynes: ArcSight is a SIM (security information management) provider. When I was there, they were doing some business with the channel, but it wasn’t 100 per cent channel. I built a business development strategy and rolled out a formal training program and restructured the organization and moved it from a regional-based channel type organization to focus on our large partners with the 80-20 rule. At ArcSight, we took all business direct in North America because we had no distribution there.

I came to Websense because I used to work with (Websense CEO) Gene Hodges while we were both at McAfee and I worked for Didier Guibal (executive vice-president of worldwide sales at Websense) when we were both at McAfee and Panda Security. I came to Websense because I knew the team and knew how successful they were and what the potential was here (at Websense).

CDN: What will you do differently in this new role, compared to when you were at ArcSight?

M.H.: In this role, we have about 4,000 partners, whereas we were limited to a couple hundred partners at ArcSight. Here, we’re trying to align the channel strategy across all programs and focus on channel enablement at the enterprise level. We’re being courted by a lot of SIs and larger VARs and partners are building larger practices around us. The challenge for me is to ensure partners are well trained, make sure they can represent us in the market, and can also implement and install the products and policies around that. Besides running our training programs, I also set up a partner enablement team internally here to focus on products and our programs.

CDN: How are you approaching your role, given that it’s something new for the company?

M.H.: It’s working out quite nicely because the whole globalization of the organization is inherently important. We’re able to take trainings and other programs and can now apply them globally. On a global basis, we’re also able to identify the high growth areas to capitalize on that with our channel. My job is more responsible for the strategy across the organization and I have a team for me to execute and follow through with the programs.

CDN: As the new channel lead, what would you like to see changed?

M.H.: In my first week, I sat down and talked with the partners and gathered an understanding of what we’re doing well and what the value proposition of Websense is. I’ll also be spending the next couple of weeks on the road. Partners view Websense as a very good partner because we’re 100 per cent channel and we don’t compete with our partners. What I’m trying to do is see where resources can be applied to high growth areas and where I can strengthen the channels across the board. I’m not trying to restructure the whole organization because we’re doing well, and we offer partners a highly profitable solution where they can build a service organization around it. We want strong and successful partners.

CDN: What’s your strategy and growth plan for your global channel base?

M.H.: What you’ll see me doing is focusing in on resources and providing additional resources to some of our more successful and national partners. Regional partners are very important to us and I’m beginning to see we haven’t paid enough attention to some of our national larger partners. The way to enable partners is through Webinars, structured training and certification programs and we’ll also replicate some of the successes we’ve had with larger partners with things like onsite training. Channel enablement will be a key theme for us this year.

I’ll spend about 80 per cent of my time meeting partners for the next six months and that includes meeting partners in Canada. I’m going to concentrate on the North American market first. I’ll also be working very closely with the country managers.

CDN: What’s your outlook on the economy this year and what will this mean for your partners?

M.H.: According to many IT analysts, the number one area where companies will invest money this year is the DLP (data loss prevention) space. We finished up last year with a very good quarter, with 12 per cent growth year over year, and we’ll continue that. We’ll be enabling channel partners, providing enablement and working with partners closely moving forward.

CDN: What’s your personal message/commitment to your partner community?

M.H.: We want to enable our partners to be successful. We want them to make money selling Websense solutions and anything I can do to help grow the customer base and build services around, I’ll definitely help (partners) do that. We’ll always try and do the right thing and if we do this and respect our partners and invest in them, everyone will be very successful now and into the future.

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