Asia's Source for Enterprise Network Knowledge

Monday, May 27th, 2019

Networking

Silver Peak rallies partners, targets $100b managed WAN services opportunity

Silver Peak – positioned as a Leader in the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure – is making strategic investments in its global Partner Edge program to equip and support partners to seize opportunities in a global WAN services market that was US$118 billion worldwide in 2018.

Separately, IDC projects the SD-WAN market to exceed $8 billion in 2021, “that estimate includes SD-WAN hardware, software and managed SD-WAN services, a small, but growing, portion of the total managed WAN services market,” said Michael O’Brien (pictured above, left), vice president of worldwide channel sales at Silver Peak. “That does not include leased lines, subscription lines, MPLS lines and even the services that go around deploying those circuits. So, SD-WAN has the potential to disrupt the total managed WAN services market which is more than $100 billion.” 

The global managed WAN services market has for years been in complete ownership of telcos and it has not been accessible to the general channels. But SD-WAN is rapidly opening up the market.

“That’s what our partners are really excited about,” O’Brien said. “For the first time, there is a technology that allows partners to disrupt a market that they couldn’t really participate before.”

“The other trend is that services and managed SD-WAN services are leading the way. Frost & Sullivan conducted a global survey on how customers see themselves acquiring and deploying SD-WAN and while early adopters have embraced a Do It Yourself (DIY) deployment model, longer term, 80 percent of respondents plan to do so through a managed SD-WAN service. So, it’s building the right ecosystem of partners and helping them in delivering the right services and skills to seize the opportunity around SD-WAN.

Silver Peak is also expanding its service provider ecosystem of partners which offer turnkey managed SD-WAN services. “Managed services provide customers with an alternative to a DIY deployment model by taking our offering and making that available as a managed service, providing customers with choice and deployment options on how they gain access to these advanced WAN services,” O’Brien added.

In addition to supporting service providers in managed SD-WAN service rollouts, Silver Peak also relies on VARs, who sell its enterprise offerings; systems integrators (SIs); and distributors, who bring together global logistics and support and value-added offerings to help the all partners with value added services. To help partners gain access to deployment skills, Silver Peak also has created an Authorized Deployment Partner program where partners can become competent in or gain access to deployment skills, so we can equip partners to help customers select the right deployment model that best meets their business requirements. 

Clear and predictable advantages

Silver Peak has made its Partner Edge program more predictable, while making incentives and value-added offerings easier to obtain for partners. Partners now clearly understand what is required at the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers, including up-front revenue and training objectives. This enables partners to align their SD-WAN investments directly to a set of rewards and see how their investments correlate to revenue growth, margins and profitability.

“Every partner knows how much revenue they have to generate to get to a certain level and what the corresponding rewards are for that level,” said O’Brien. “It’s really basic channel stuff but it’s something we were lacking so we fixed that.”

“Secondly, we allow partners to get an incentive rebate on all of their sales that meet certain criteria. We’re going to be aggressive on the front end for pricing, but we’re also going to reward on the back end with additional margin incentives. That’s important so the partner can plan and apply resources knowing that they’re going to make some money on the deals.”

“Thirdly, we completely revamped our tools, training and accreditation. Our goal is to make them very proficient in the positioning and selling of an SD-WAN solution.” 

A set of Silver Peak incentives rewards Gold and Platinum partners that focus on growth initiatives in selling the Silver Peak Unity EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform. Partners realize the direct margin benefit to their company when they shift customers away from shrinking hardware margins toward higher-margin software-defined offerings. Additionally, Silver Peak inside and field sales teams are adopting a programmatic approach to pass active leads directly to partners, expediting time to new opportunity and revenue.

Another motivating factor for Silver Peak partners is that 100 percent of the services revenue around deploying its SD-WAN solution goes to the partner. In addition, the new Silver Peak Authorized Deployment Partner program provides a path for partners to become a certified post sales arm of Silver Peak that delivers to customers complete turn-key deployment and management services for its SD-WAN platform. 

Coveted skillsets

Meanwhile, skillset requirements are changing, especially in the deployment and integration services arena.“Partners are quickly realizing that need to have a new set of architectural skills to become proficient in architecting and selling an SD-WAN solution,” O’Brien advised. “Silver Peak offers a unified SD-WAN edge platform that brings SD-WAN, routing, security and WAN optimization together in a single centrally managed system.” 

Deploying SD-WAN as an unified platform with all four network functions enables Silver Peak partners to help customers to re-architect their WAN for the cloud and depending on their unique security requirements, seamlessly service chain EdgeConnect to leading next generation firewalls and cloud security services from Palo Alto, Check Point and Zscaler.

“When you look at that type of functionality, architectural experience and technical expertise are critical for a partner,” O’Brien added. “The second thing is that the rollout of multi-regional complex implementations of SD-WAN really requires our partners to have a good project management skillset to help their customers throughout that journey.” 

Silver Peak has refreshed its training materials and courses to reflect the innovations across its EdgeConnect SD-WAN edge platform. The training and certification programs are available as self-pace or instructor-led and are complementary to all partners.

Regionally, Silver Peak is building on its investments in ASEAN, Japan and ANZ. In ASEAN, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are key markets.

“SD-WAN is ideal for Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines for a couple of reasons,” said Dean Vaughan (pictured above, right), vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and Japan for Silver Peak. “MPLS costs are still very high in the region, particularly in Malaysia. That’s driving customers towards cost savings and they see SD-WAN as a major enabler for that. Secondly, we’re seeing more investments from cloud providers in each of the countries, building points of presence and their own data centers. And that’s opening the door for enterprises to start leveraging the cloud. That means their applications are no longer residing in a central data center, but they are actually hosted from multiple locations. 

“The third reason is that, unlike a lot of other SD-WAN vendors, Silver Peak unifies its traditional WAN optimization technology together with SD-WAN. So, in a country like Indonesia, which is so spread out across so many islands with so many endpoints, they need SD-WAN at each endpoint, but they also realize the benefit of our Unity Boost WAN optimization technology, which gives them higher network and application performance as well.”

Further, with Silver Peak being recognized as a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN edge infrastructure has generated interest among CIOs and COOs in Silver Peak with the company now responding to more tenders and RFPs than ever before.

Steadfast support

Still, Vaughan is well aware, amidst positive sentiments, that when there is a problem, the partner expects the vendor to be there to support them and his key message is: “We’re here to support you."

Indeed, Silver Peak is committed and invested in ASEAN, Hong Kong and the broader Asian market. “We recognize that as a company delivering global solutions, we can’t be that without a firm understanding and a support structure in place to support our partners and customers across the Asia Pacific and Japan region. The company is investing in a number of resources to make sure we do just that,” said O’Brien. “Secondly, for partners is that we represent, the SD-WAN market that opens up opportunity for them to disrupt a global WAN services market that represents more than $100 billion annually. 

“And because we are a pure-play solution and we deliver a unified SD-WAN edge platform, with zero-touch provisioning, we allow them to be really effective in positioning, selling and deploying SD-WANs successfully.”

“Thirdly, we’re encouraging service providers to talk to us about how our platform can serve as the foundation for their managed SD-WAN services, and in a broader sense, how we can collectively address the cloud-to-cloud connectivity and the application migration challenges that customers are bringing to them.” 

Conversations around the emergence of a self-driving wide area network, the use of automation, business intent overlays, and how Silver Peak sees WAN technologies moving over time also helps partners provide a clear strategic vision that assures customers can successfully shift from a conventional router-centric WAN approach to a business-first networking model with minimal risk. 

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Silver Peak.