Aqua Security, a pure-play cloud native security provider, is making significant investments to help partners accelerate their customers’ digital transformations and support their move into the new era of DevSecOps and cloud native applications. Over the past six months, Aqua has doubled its channel and ecosystem teams and has grown its supporting cross-functional team members. And earlier this summer, the company launched a new partner program and portal.
“The Aqua Advantage Ecosystem program enables partners to build long-term relationships with customers,” said Jeannette Lee Heung, Senior Director, Global Channel & Alliances at Aqua. “We invested substantial time in evaluating our many partners to better understand what elements are important to their success. We took that feedback and reimagined our approach. The result is an entirely new program arming partners with the resources they need to help their customers leverage cloud native tools with purpose-built security.”
While providing more support to partners, it was critical that Aqua eliminated any unnecessary complexities, Lee Heung told CMR. The number one request from partners was to “just make it simple,” she said. “My goal was to make is as simple as I could, and yet still support a variety of different business models.”
Among the more streamlined aspects of the program is a reduction in the number of discounts, sales bonuses and pricing models. While the company will offer incentives to support a new product launch or promotion, Aqua will prioritize “straight-line” pricing. The practice feels like it runs counter to conventional partner program best practices, said Lee Heung. “I’ve seen data that points to the partner demand for discounts or layering on a variety of market models. But when you talk to partners, what’s important to them is solving their customers’ problems. All those other thing just add complexity.”
As part of the newly launched program, Aqua does works with partners across various business models to build out a mutually beneficial strategy with meaningful goals while providing ample resources for success. These include a dedicated partner manager, pre-sales and delivery services training, sales and technical alignment, and joint marketing development support. In addition, the partner portal has been enhanced to make updated enablement, marketing and technical content resources more easily accessible. Adding other capabilities to the portal such as through-channel marketing automation is under consideration.
Aqua is also striving to ensure that its technology is included in the larger solution sets companies implement to address their business needs. “It’s part of our partner program to understand what are the tech alliances and the cloud service providers that those companies are working with, so that we can build an entire solution from a technology standpoint with them,” said Lee Heung.
Aqua’s key differentiator is its focus on enabling support services, which provides partners with opportunities for meaningful, recurring revenue, even when customers have purchased through a cloud marketplace, the company said. By defining clear use cases and the services needed to ensure success in these scenarios, Aqua can make recommendations for partners to take customers through the process of achieving and continually supporting CNAPP maturity.
To ensure the ongoing success of the program, Lee Heung will be monitoring the types of partners that drive opportunities. And she is measuring what forms of enablement partners use to determine where additional investments should be made. “We’ll be tracking the types of resources that our partners are consuming, how often are they asking for marketing support, for post-sales support versus pre-sales, and technical support. All of that is going to help shape the program as it evolves.”