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Opengear Kicks Off First Partner Summit To Celebrate Channel Growth, Unveil New Resources

In its first partner summit, Opengear this week unveiled a host of new resources for partners, a revamped partner portal, and a new "Elite" tier within the partner program.

Opengear has never had a down -- or even stagnant -- year when it comes to cellular, data center, and edge solutions sales. That's because partners are playing a larger role than ever before, according to the company.

Founded in 2004, Opengear, which specializes in network monitoring, data center and IT infrastructure management solutions, is hosting its first-ever partner summit this week to show the channel how Opengear is prioritizing partners this year with more resources and a brand-new program tier.

Opengear made the decision to double down on the channel in 2019, said Todd Rychecky, Opengear's vice president of Americas. "I asked for more money and I asked for more people," he told CRN. "The channel is very, very important and this is proof that you can use the channel to extend your reach and grow your business."

[Related: 2019 Partner Program Guide: 5-Star Security Vendors]

Opengear used to sell directly to end customers, but now the company is 100 percent channel-focused and is landing more enterprise customers, Rychecky said. Opengear today has 21 sales reps and regional sales managers within six regions, including Canada. Opengear brought on its channel chief in 2015 when it kicked off the program, Bryan Keepers, who has since grown his team to include channel managers on the East and West Coast, as well as the Central Region. The company this year also added Keith Hansen as its channel sales engineer.

"I heard from many partners that they were not always getting the technical information they wanted, so it was important to add an engineer to the team," Rychecky said.

Opengear partners today are selling subscription-based services, such as Opengear's Lighthouse for network management, and are earning recurring revenue in the process, an important feature that lets partners stay connected with their customers as they continue to grow, he said.

"It's much easier once you're in an account to get wider, and that's what I encourage the team and partners to do," he said.

Opengear also took to its partner summit to introduce a new level within its partner program. Opengear's partners today are all "Premiere" partners, whether they are a large systems integrator or small solution provider. Opengear has rolled out an "Elite" tier for partners that are booking $1 million or more annually with Opengear, which is eight partners so far, Rychecky said.

The company is unveiling new logos for both Premier and Elite partners for their websites, as well as new technical training modules for partners. The partner portal is also getting a revamp, Rychecky said, which will now include a deal registration space.

"I think it's important to put deal registration inside the portal because it forces the partner to look at the other resources and assets we are offering," he said. "It's an important next step."

Opengear, once an unknown player, has grown to 50 percent market share in the cellular and failover space, Rychecky said. The Piscataway, N.J. -based company's technology is also employed by many large technology vendors.

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