FireEye's global channel boss, Steve Pataky, discusses his company's transition to a channel-led security organisation, and how it is pushing its partners to sell its services in new ways, to non-traditional customers.
Tell us a bit about your history with FireEye?
I've been with FireEye for two years, but have spent 25 years plus in various channel roles across the technology space -- always in the networking and security sectors. I cut my teeth at 3Com Corporation back in the early years, then a variety of startups before I went to Netscreen Technologies. We were then acquired by Juniper, and part of what they wanted to do was use the nucleus of the Netscreen channel business as a way to launch themselves into the enterprise, because at that point they were predominantly service provider infrastructure company. So that provided me with a huge canvas to try and create a global partnering strategy.
I spent nine years at Juniper, and obviously I knew FireEye pretty well from the security space in Silicon Valley. I knew their executives and their VPs, so when I joined, just before the IPO, Dave De Walt [FireEye chairman and CEO] told me that channel was something they really wanted to work on. How they could better partner, and leverage the channel to achieve the company's targets.
I was lucky enough to be brought in to lead that transformation in August of 2013.
You've said that historically FireEye hasn't had the strongest partner programme, what's changed?
FireEye had the nucleus. It was always a partnering company, but as is the traditional trajectory for high-tech companies, they have to build that direct sales presence first. Especially in our space, it was unknown, it's a completely new technology, and its unbudgeted for most of your customers. We had to have a very evangelical sales approach in the early days, but we observed there was a lot more value that partners could get if they evolved along with us. It's a 'give to get' situation.
We've been in a transformative mode for the last few years. The traditional model is not really an interesting model for most partners. The margin for them lies in finding opportunities, honing those opportunities and adding as much value as they can to that.
When I joined, it was basically Web and email. Now we've got mobile solutions, datacentre solutions, we are moving to a more fully virtualised Cloud environment.
What that's going to do is it will allow us to take a lot of that success we've had in larger enterprise, and allow us to move downmarket, into the midmarkets. So much of the Australian and New Zealand markets fall into that.
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