IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Partner Feedback Fueling Fiberlink's Enhancements

The mobile management provider, now part of IBM, is rolling out new tiers and a certification program, among other changes. By Colleen Frye

Fiberlink Communications is upping the ante for its channel partner community, rolling out newly tiered partner levels, MaaS360 certification, and other MaaSters Partner Program incentives for 2014. And all this is on the heels of being newly acquired by IBM at the close of 2013.

According to Francois Daumard, vice president of channels for North America at the Blue Bell, Pa.-based mobile management and security provider, there are now five tiers of partners, with the tiers based on cumulative revenue contributions. "It's very incentivizing; the more they sell, the cheaper it is for them to purchase our licensing," says Daumard. "Partners also get more support as they go up the food chain," such as additional marketing and sales resources and more demo licenses.

Fiberlink is in the process of communicating these changes to its partners. "We take a look at the lifetime revenue contribution of each partner and deduce the specific tier it belongs to. Then we schedule a one-on-one call with this partner and/or have a full series of touch points by email, to articulate to each partner, individually, what that tier is, and the associated price structure and benefits."

Currently, Daumard says, the vast majority of existing partners are at the lowest tiers. "Of course, we want them to grow their mobility practice, based on our MDM/EMM solution. So over time-because it's a lifetime revenue contribution, not a yearly revenue contribution-they will migrate up the tiers." He stresses that Fiberlink will still not require a yearly mandatory level of purchase. "So they have everything to win by growing their mobility business and selling more MaaS360, but nothing to lose."

Dual Mobility Certification

Another change to the partner program is MaaS360 certification, which is a twofold process, Daumard says. First, partners will be asked to complete the CompTIA Mobility+ certification, the cost of which Fiberlink will subsidize. Then the partner will be enrolled at no cost in the MaaS360 Academy. The dual certification "gives them a level of knowledge they need to be excellent. It also gives them market credibility, something we will push our partners to brag about to their customers."

Finally, Fiberlink is introducing changes to its licensing that Daumard says will appeal specifically to MSPs. One is the ability to purchases licenses in bulk. Another is a move to user-based licensing, which will cover up to five devices per user. And last is the ability to transfer licenses from one customer to another. "That gives flexibility to partners to manage their licenses as customers come and go," he says.

All of these changes are based on feedback received from partners during the past year, he says. "We created a [partners] concierge desk, where we received, literally, tons of feedback."

While in an earlier interview with ChannelPro-SMB Daumard talked of plans to create an SMB advisory council, the partner feedback mechanisms the company has put in place act as a "massive informal SMB advisory council, community-based." As a result, Fiberlink has decided to postpone the setup of a formal SMB Advisory Council and revisit that idea "in the near future."

With Fiberlink's MaaS360 cloud-based offerings, IBM will expand its BYOD capabilities to deliver a complete mobile management and security solution through IBM MobileFirst. MaaS360 will become part of IBM's SaaS portfolio of cloud services.

Daumard says there will be no immediate impact on the Fiberlink MaaSters Partner Program, and adds that "Fiberlink partners can sell any IBM product through the standard IBM partner programs. They would sign up with one of the IBM distributors ... The distributor will then help them get set up in PartnerWorld ... and get any necessary certifications."

ChannelPro SMB Magazine

Get an edge on the competition

With each issue packed full of powerful news, reviews, analysis, and advice targeting IT channel professionals, ChannelPro-SMB will help you cultivate your SMB customers and run your business more profitably.