Back to basics pays off, claims Fortinet

Plant with coins

Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) is hailing its channel overhaul a “tremendous success”.

The security vendor's “back to basics strategy” saw Fortinet shed two distributors in two years, leaving Exclusive Networks as its sole UK distributor.

The firm has also moved around 20 percent of its partners between tiers after having frank discussions around whether inactive partners should still benefit from its tiered discounting structure. “We are now actively policing the channel,” explains Mark Hyland, UK and Ireland country manager.

From Exclusive, Fortinet has secured an additional commitment of four newly appointed inside sales staff that will help drive SMB leads to channel partners and work on active recruitment. The move coincides with a new Bronze+ scheme that aims to benefit partners that commit to more than “button pushing”, with additional sales and technical training following purchase of £500 worth of discounted demo kit.

“If you had asked me 12 months ago [about dropping Avnet], it could be seen as a backwards step…but eight months later and it has clearly been a tremendous success,” comments Hyland.

On the notion that having a single distributor could make the vendor vulnerable to discounting pressures, Hyland points out that Exclusive has been instrumental in advancing the cause of Fortinet and the results speak for themselves: “They have made the investment and it shows,” he adds.

In April, Fortinet launched a new Authorized Training Centers (ATCs) programme in conjunction with Exclusive that includes qualified instructors with the aim of increasing the product expertise of Fortinet’s reseller community. The firm also worked with the distie to implement new deal registration and web-based renewal asset tracking tools, designed to help resellers identify income opportunities by better managing its subscription services like its FortiCare and FortiGuard.

According to Analyst firm IDC, Fortinet is now the fourth largest network security provider worldwide with a 5.1 percent market share. In July, however, Fortinet Inc. posted second-quarter earnings that slipped 3.8 percent as the company recorded a larger income-tax provision and increased expenses. However global revenue grew higher than expectation rising to $129m.