IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Centrify Matures Its Channel Strategy

The unified identity services provider has launched the Centrify Channel Partner Network, with new tiers and incentives for partners to scale their commitment and profits. By Colleen Frye

For Nathan Adams, it was an “easy decision” to take the helm for Centrify Corp.’s new and rebranded channel partner program and help to “evolve what was already working well.” The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider launched the tiered Centrify Channel Partner Network in January in North America, with plans to go global.

Centrify’s solutions provide unified identity services across data center, cloud, and mobile—resulting in one single login for users and one unified identity infrastructure for IT. The technology solves a pain point many organizations and users experience, including himself, says Adams, who came on board in July as director of North American Channels. So Centrify’s technology appealed to him, as well as the focus that the rapidly growing company was putting into developing a mature channel execution, he says.

In 2013, Centrify grew 40 percent year-over-year from 2012, and its product is in 40 percent of the Fortune 50, with 5,000-plus customers overall. The solution is “very strategic in a lot of data center environments, and we’re now branching into cloud and mobility as well,” says Adams, who has spent his career working in the channel.

Channel Is the Route to the Market
While the 10-year-old Centrify has always had a channel program, the focus was more on direct sales, he explains. “There was not a lot of strategic focus or a programmatic piece to get partners more committed, or a consistent approach in how we were engaging with the channel.”

Now with the new program, there is “a 180-degree shift” to a heavy channel strategy that engages partners in all opportunities, he says. “The channel is that route to the market we need to get behind, to put money behind, and the reason I came on board.”

New partner benefits include competitive profit margins, deal registration, a “Think Centrify” rewards program, no-cost training and support, and MDF. Also, there are dedicated channel sales and marketing resources available, along with a partner portal to access sales kits, collateral, online training, marketing assets, and more.

The Centrify Channel Partner Network also introduces new tiers of partnership, with higher commitment levels delivering greater benefits. Authorized Partners meet the minimum sales and technical training requirements, and receive access to sales tools and collateral, deal registration, and reward programs. Select Partners make a larger training investment, and are committed to using Centrify solutions internally as well. They receive access to leads, sales tools and collateral, additional deal registration discounts, reward programs, and marketing funds. Premier Partners are experts in multiple competencies and make a significant commitment to actively sell Centrify’s solutions and jointly plan for revenue growth. They receive the most competitive deal registration discounts, access to sales tools and collateral, reward programs, MDF, sales leads, and more.

A Fast Track program is available to help partners move to the next tier, providing incentives for accelerated commitments.

Centrify has been assessing its current 86 partners, from small MSPs to large systems integrators, “to determine where they are out of the gate” in the new tiered structure, Adams says. “We’ve been getting in front of every partner to talk about what’s in it for them.” He says four have already been designated as Premier, and the goal is to move more Authorized Partners to the Select level.

The recruitment effort for new partners is putting a heavy emphasis on cloud and mobility providers, while continuing to drive the data center side of the business. Centrify has also done a gap analysis on where it needs more coverage from a local standpoint, Adams says, so there is strategic recruitment there. “MSPs are a huge opportunity for us. They’re local, know the accounts, and have deep technical knowledge. The larger software resellers are also important, so we’re not limiting [our approach]. It’s how we fit in their business model.”

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