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February 27, 2020 |

OpenText to Roll Out Combined Carbonite/Webroot Partner Program This Summer

The new offering, which will include one set of tiers but different tracks for VARs and MSPs, will sell and support a unified portfolio of “cyber resilience” products covering security and data protection.

OpenText has a combined partner program for its Carbonite and Webroot channels coming this summer.

The all-new offering is set to arrive roughly a year and a half after backup and high availability vendor Carbonite acquired security vendor Webroot, and a little over half a year since Carbonite was in turn acquired by enterprise information management vendor OpenText.

“By the July timeframe, you could expect us to come out with a revised channel program across both channels that takes the entire product set into consideration and rewards for the right behaviors,” says Craig Stilwell, OpenText’s executive vice president and general manager for SMB and consumer. Stilwell spoke with ChannelPro at the 2020 RSA Conference, which is taking place in San Francisco this week.

The new program will include a single tiering structure, a unified deal registration system, and dual sets of requirements and benefits, one each for traditional resellers and MSPs. “You will also have channel program managers who are driving the whole solution, as opposed to just security or just data protection,” Stilwell says.†

Carbonite and Webroot partners at elevated tiers with either vendor today will enjoy comparable status in the new program, he continues. “It’s in everybody’s best interest to take care of our best partners, and so we’re absolutely going to do that.”

Rules and promotions in the combined program will be designed to prod Carbonite partners, most of whom are VARs, to sell Webroot security solutions and to encourage Webroot’s MSP-heavy partner base to sell Carbonite data protection systems. “There’s very little overlap between the traditional Webroot channel and the traditional Carbonite channel, which means there’s opportunity to cross-sell and bring both those products up through those routes to market,” Stilwell notes.

Teaching partners to sell both product families is a priority for the remainder of this year. “You have somebody who used to only sell security who now is responsible for a bigger, broader portfolio,” Stilwell notes. “We need to spend a lot of energy on that cross-training.”

Turning currently separate channels into a single one offering the complete portfolio of Carbonite and Webroot products will be a key milestone in a post-acquisition integration process that began on a limited basis within weeks of the two vendors joining forces. Initially, those efforts were limited to inviting partners of one company to enroll in the other’s channel program and rolling out cross-vendor product bundles. “That was kind of the easy, low hanging fruit,” Stilwell observes.†

Efforts to integrate the two companies in earnest accelerated last summer, however, around the time Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali exited the firm, before temporarily slowing to a crawl in the leadup to the OpenText deal, which closed on Christmas Eve. “We’re not as far along as we’d like to be,” Stilwell acknowledges. “We definitely had a little bit of a pause during Q4, and now we’re back on track.”

Technical integration of Carbonite and Webroot products is underway at present as well, with initial milestones coming soon. By roughly midyear, for example, Webroot’s Global Site Manager console, which has long enabled consolidated oversight of Webroot’s endpoint security, DNS filtering, and security awareness training solutions, will begin supporting several Carbonite products as well, with further additions to come over the course of the year.†

“That’s going to make a really easy transition for the MSP partners, because they’re used to using that console,” Stilwell says. Access to Global Site Manager will allow Carbonite partners to administer solutions centrally for the first time, he adds. “Whether you’re backing up endpoints or servers or Office 365, you’re going to start to see all of those in the same pane of glass.”

More ambitious integration plans include enabling Webroot solutions to prevent ransomware attackers from disabling or tampering with backups, and allowing Carbonite systems to automatically restore data impacted by a breach. “I think you’ll start to see some of those types of things happening in 2020,” Stilwell predicts.

Such cross-platform coordination aligns with the new messaging OpenText has begun applying to the Carbonite/Webroot portfolio, which positions it as a seamless set of technologies for keeping IT systems safe and restoring them after a breach.

“We’ve started using the term ‘cyber resilience’ to describe what those products do together,” Stilwell says.

Erasing lines of all kinds between Carbonite and Webroot is an ongoing effort for the two organizations. Charlie Tomeo, formerly Webroot’s channel chief, took on oversight of Carbonite’s partners as well last September. Webroot’s CTO Hal Lonas became CTO for the combined vendors that same month, and Chad Bacher, previously senior vice president of product strategy and technology alliances for Webroot, became the merged vendor’s chief product officer.†

Once separate product management teams are coming together now too, along with core operational groups. “We’ve got a combined, cohesive marketing team where people have responsibilities for both sets of products,” Stilwell notes.

OpenText is also exploring opportunities to offer some of its currently enterprise-oriented solutions through the same SMB channel now selling backup and security systems. For example, EnCase Forensic, a criminal investigations solution used mostly by large law enforcement agencies today, is potentially a fit for smaller, local ones as well, Stilwell notes. OpenText’s Hightail solution for large file transfers and LiquidOffice forms automation system, he adds, also hold potential appeal to SMBs. The company plans to begin testing that strategy with a limited set of partners starting in April.

At present, there are over 16,000 MSPs in the combined Carbonite/Webroot channel transacting business regularly. The company estimates there to be some 60,000 MSPs overall now in North America, and as many as 120,000 worldwide. “While the 16,000 plus that we’ve got under management today is strong, there’s room to grow,” Stilwell observes.†

Recruiting managed service providers is a high priority and a big part of why Carbonite bought Webroot, but recruiting more resellers is also an objective for the new program. “There’s definitely opportunity to expand more on the VAR side as well,” Stilwell says.

Stilwell, who previously held a variety of executive positions at Citrix including senior vice president of partner sales most recently, became Carbonite’s chief revenue officer last July. His current role makes him a key player in the strategic vision behind OpenText’s acquisition of Carbonite late last year.†

“OpenText primarily had always been big, big enterprise,” Stilwell notes. Purchasing Carbonite gives it a shortcut into the SMB and consumer markets as well, along with a ready-made set of partners for supporting and selling to those buyers.†

OpenText appreciates the value of those partners, according to Stilwell, who acknowledges concerns among channel pros about the company’s past emphasis on direct sales to end users.

“They recognize there’s no way to do what we do at the scale that we do it without being channel first all the time, every day,” Stilwell says.†


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