Sophos works on its delivery

Sophos logo

Security vendor Sophos has revealed plans to improve its delivery processes to make life easier for partners, especially those providing services to small businesses.

Speaking to Channel Pro, Sophos’ channel director, James Vyvyan, says the vendor’s focus is on “designing our solutions so that they are easy for partners to deliver and manage.”

He says: “For example, two of our UK partners are on the beta programme for our upcoming UTM product [Sophos acquired UTM vendor Astaro in July 2011], which means they are directly plugged into the people designing and making our products and can feedback from a partner perspective. This is important because if partners can deliver services in a cost-efficient way they will obviously make more money.”

With the exception of “three or four” accounts worldwide, the vendor pushes all its products through the channel, including £40m worth of business through its UK partners.

Half of this figure is generated by Sophos’ top 15 partners, says Vyvyan (pictured), who adds this same group – which includes firms such as Softcat, Trustmarque, Phoenix IT, Insight, TSG and SCC – has tripled their Sophos business over the past three years. He cites Softcat as an example, which did £2m of Sophos business in FY11, and finished on £3.3m in FY12.

The firm is currently identifying “the right type of partner” to join this top strategic tier. Vyvyan says this could be a VAR or managed service provider, dependent on the firm’s skills and reach. “Our focus is on a few partners and getting it really right with them. I would love to add two or three partners to that but only if they add value and quality,” he explains.

Sophos splits its channel organisation into ‘Solution Partner’, for volume sales, and ‘Strategic’, its VAR business. Vyvyan reveals the vendor is bulking up both with additional channel support. As well as the recent addition of two internal account managers to its Solution Partner channel, the vendor is looking to recruit a third, as well as a new field-based channel account manager to help develop its strategic channel.

“In order to meet global sales expectations we need to use the channel more, [but] in the UK we’re a long way down the road in comparison to the rest of the world,” claims Vyvyan.

The channel exec also hinted at further changes to be announced within the Sophos partner programme during the coming months.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.