Kemp formalises UK channel programme

Man in suit pointing

Kemp Technologies has introduced a new formal channel structure to the UK.

The New York-headquartered vendor, which manufactures load balancers and Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), grew its UK business by 40 percent in 2014. Now firm has decided to put a formal partner engagement model in place.

“We’ve almost punched above our weight with partners in a way; we work with Insight, Softcat, Kelway, Trustmarque – but we’ve probably lacked the proper process behind developing a sustainable partner model,” explains Leigh Bradford, Kemp’s regional director for Northern Europe.

“We wanted to reward partners that were coming back to us on a repeat basis, and in particular those that invest in sales and technical training,” adds Ed Martin, UK country manager for Kemp.

He tells Channel Pro: “The product is very cost-effective, and we’ll talk to any partner out there that has a project and needs a load balancer – and we’ve done very well in terms of our conversion rates. But in order to scale we wanted to make sure that partners that deal with us on a regular basis have that deal protection.”

While the vendor had partner tiers previously, it “didn’t have aspiration targets; we didn’t have any way of measuring success,” says Bradford.

“This new plan gives us more structure…this year there are aspiration targets, but in exchange we’re going to reward you officially with marketing plans, MDF, leads so there’s more structure, we’re growing up a little bit.”

The vendor – which has appointed former Avaya exec Fraser McNicol to oversee the changes – has two main levels of partner accreditation: KEMPcentre partners are its top partners, comprising Phoenix Software, Risual, Systech and SysPro.

Systech has recently established a Northern Training centre for KEMP products to match the vendor’s training centre in the South, run by Kemp distributor Zycko.

Kemp also has a handful of Advanced Partners, including ADM Computing and Koris. Below that are around 130 transactional UK partners.

Expanding portfolio

Analyst Gartner has previously highlighted Kemp’s lack of security offering, but this year the vendor announced an OEM relationship with TrustWave for an application firewall that provides PCI compliance.

It also has a feature called called ESP (Edge Security Pack) that it hopes will target a gap in the market left by Microsoft withdrawing its TMG (Threat Management Gateway) in April.

Bradford says expanding into the security space opens up more doors in the channel: “It’s not just load balancing now,” he explains. “We can walk into security partners as well. For the first time in our history we don’t have to go with networking resellers; actually we’re going to appeal to the broader security resellers – the Caretowers of this world. Also Softcat and Kelway, that traditionally had a Microsoft division that spoke to us – now its security division can speak to us as well.”

Kemp also claims it is starting to attract the attention of more enterprise-sized companies, with more than 50 percent of its revenue come from the segment last year.

Says Martin: “As companies begin to realise they don’t need to spend all that they do with the market leaders, they can tick all of the boxes of their project with Kemp. That’s where we’re taking business of some of the bigger guys; we had more six figure deals last year than we’ve ever had.”

Speaking of its ambition to move to a software-based portfolio, Bradford says last year it matched software and hardware sales for the first time, and is aiming to sell more virtual licences than hardware this year.


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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.