WPC 2013 is Around the Corner – Come Join Us!

The 2013 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Houston, Texas, is this week and Mimecast will be there in full force. Our massive booth (#1207) will have regular opportunities to win prizes and meet with the Mimecast leadership team who’ll be available throughout.

Of course, heads will turn for presentations from Microsoft executives like Steve Ballmer, but first and foremost this event is for the Microsoft Partner ecosystem. We’re very proud that at last year’s WPC we were recognized for our part in that network, winning the 2012 Microsoft Innovative Customer Advocacy Partner of the Year. It marked the start of an excellent year of growth for Mimecast globally and in particular in the US. We’ve just opened up a new U.S. HQ in Boston and plan a 30% growth in local headcount in 2013. The next step in that growth is to develop our partner network quickly, which is why we’re so keen to meet potential partners next week in Texas.

Going into WPC this year, it strikes me that we’re finally seeing fruition of cloud technology after many years of expectation.

In March 2010, Steve Ballmer made a statement to the market – “for the cloud, we’re all in.” It rapidly became IT folklore and was a clear recognition from Microsoft that the shift from client server to cloud computing was an irresistible force, and that the company needed to get on the bus.  And once the Redmond behemoth got on that bus, everyone started looking for a ticket.

Yet I’m surprised to still be reading a few comments in the IT press imploring readers to ‘embrace the cloud’ or to ‘make it a strategic part of your business’, three years later the jury is in - the cloud has won.

So why isn’t the channel grabbing this opportunity with both hands?

The IT channel ecosystem is still threatened by the cloud for two reasons. Either, they can’t figure out how they can ‘add value,’ i.e. build cloud services into a powerful value proposition for their customers or because they see their margins being eroded.  But find the right partner, and the long term rewards are there.

How do you know if you have the right partner?

  • Margins. Looking at vendors’ long term margins can give you a good indication of how committed they are to the relationship.  It’s no good being paid a good percentage margin on closing a sale, only to see that drop off a cliff further down the line.  Resellers have businesses to run.  The whole attraction of the cloud business model is recurring revenue – if resellers can’t predict a flow of income after closing a deal, their business looks unsustainable.  The key here is working with vendor partners who aren't just selling a cloud service, but are fully committed to a cloud business model. From the outset Mimecast has designed a partner program that is hugely rewarding with high retained margins. These margins, especially when combined with Office 365, provide an extremely healthy annuity revenue stream. I encourage you to stop by the booth for the facts – I guarantee that you’ll be impressed.
  • Revenue protection: when a deal is signed, what steps are taken to protect that opportunity?  Ask about partner deal registration support, such as Mimecast’s unique ‘Poacher’s Penalty’ which means any partner attempting to steal an existing Mimecast customer from another partner only receives a maximum of 2% margin.
  • Does the partner have products or services that compliment your - or your clients’ - area of expertise?  The service aspect of your business is the only aspect you actually own.  Product supply chains can be taken away at any time, so the ability to add value with additional services is vitally important and your reputation is based on it.  Again, working with vendors who are cloud ‘from the ground up’ can help you build these services into a compelling and valuable proposition for customers.
  • What is the partner’s customer retention rate? At Mimecast, for example, our 97% customer retention rate means we’re offering our partners a customer for life, thus securing reliable, recurring revenues for the long term.
  • Will that partner offer to help you generate leads? Are the benefits of that vendor easily understood, tangible and demonstrable?  What resources does the partner offer in terms of marketing training, technology or campaigns?  From your first conversations, a good partner should be providing you with facts and figures about resources available, numbers of meetings and high quality leads provided.

The cloud needs to be profitable to the IT channel.  And it can be.  But only if partners work with vendors with who they can build a long term partnership that offers mutual rewards.

There is money to be made for partners, and we’ll be at booth number #1207 if you’d like to hear how we can help make it happen together!