After launching its product into the market in 2007 and working informally to build its partner program since then, Web security company Wedge Networks has launched its first formal channel program, called Wedge Partner Prestige.
Based in Calgary, Wedge Networks markets high performance, network-based Web security solutions to the enterprise and service provider market. In addition to its Calgary headquarters, the company also has offices in Ottawa and San Jose, Calif., as well as field offices in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Hongwen Zhang, president and CEO of Wedge Networks, said the company has about 20 partners worldwide. It began shipping product in late 2007 targeting large enterprise and service provider accounts, and was able to double its revenue in 2009 over 2008 thanks to the hard work of the channel, said Zhang.
“A typical customer is a large enterprise customer that relies on the Internet to do a lot of their work, and they’re reliant on a very stable Internet,” said Zhang. They look at our product to be a very high-performance security device.”
The decision to launch a formal partner program now was driven, said Zhang, by a recognition that North American partners require a different level of support. In Japan, Zhang said Wedge has a very good partner that deals with large government organizations, and receives “mature and technical” support from Wedge. In North America, Zhang said they’ve learned the vendor needs to provide a higher level of support.
“In North America, VARs are still relying on Wedge to provide lead generation, deal registration, and 24 by 7 support,” said Zhang. “We’ve been building-out that capability through 2009, and we felt now more than ready to release the program.”
The mandate of the Wedge program is to find a good mechanism to support the partners based on their level of commitment with different levels of support, including marketing and PR campaigns and deal registration, as well as post-sales support and 24 by 7 electronic support for partners. Another element to the program is renewal protection.
“Our product has a good advantage with two-thirds of the revenue being recurring, and once deployed it generated strong licensing and contract sales which is appealing to the partner,” said Zhang. “We have renewal protection so others can’t poach your renewals.”
The Wedge program has three tiers. Elite is the top offering margins of 39 to 43 per cent, increased marketing support and hardware replacement. Premier is the middle tier with 32 to 36 per cent margins, and Associate the entry-level with margins of 25 to 27 per cent. Revenue requirements start at US$50,000/year for Associate, increasing to US$200,000 for Premier and US$400,000 for Elite. Strong customer satisfaction scores also required to maintain tier levels, with a score of 90 to 95 per cent expected from Elite partners.
“Our ideal partners would already be started with network service and deployment and servers, and wants to get into the rapidly growing security market, or starts with security and the network layer is another place for them to put security,” said Zhang. “We’re looking for dealers interested in carrying our product to come up with business plans and we’re open to discussion with the established partners out there.”