John Taylor, Vice President of EMEA Channels at Tanium talks to PCR about it’s latest business developments.
Please could you explain a bit more about Oracle’s partnership with Tanium and what the benefits of this are?
Earlier this year we announced a partnership to use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) as part of our multi-cloud approach to deliver Tanium-as-a-Service (TaaS), our flagship SaaS platform.
TaaS is designed to provide comprehensive visibility, control, and intelligence at the edge, across all endpoints within a network. By partnering with Oracle, Tanium customers can reap the benefits of OCI including improved built-in security, high availability, and superior price-performance. All of this helps us to enhance our user experience ensure our customers more efficiently secure their IT environments.
It’s a great advancement for us as a vendor, as it increases our ability to offer TaaS to a broader set of customers. It also boosts our wider growth strategy, as it allows us to reach the mid-market customers who we didn’t engage with previously.
Please could you explain a bit more about EY’s partnership announcement with Tanium and the benefits?
Our new partnership means that EY technology professionals can now leverage the Tanium platform to help improve the way they are engaging with their customers. The partnership spans across several countries globally including the U.S. and some European nations.
Through Tanium, EY now has access to real-time endpoint data for its clients across areas such as risk and threat resilience, security managed services, incident response, mergers and acquisitions analysis and compliance monitoring. It also allows them to actively change and remediate client environments as they need.
The overall benefits of this are reduced costs, the ability to break down silos between IT operations and security teams and to gain a real-time understanding of vulnerabilities and risks.
Please could you explain a bit more about Tanium’s Career Certifications Programme:
Our new Career Certifications Programme is an example of our growing maturity as a channel business.
It’s a formal training curriculum that enables participants to develop their skills and expertise in endpoint management and provides specific extra guidance on the deployment and ongoing management of Tanium solutions.
We believe that by providing learning and development opportunities to individuals who are willing to learn more and become more proficient in the tools we offer, we are helping to assure the quality of our partners and the work they are doing.
It also provides customers with more trust and comfort – now when they buy Tanium, there is an ecosystem that’s recognised by us and that is dedicated to supporting our partner’s IT and security needs as well as enhancing their understanding around what we offer.
Please can you explain how and why the company’s channel sales are currently thriving despite the difficult climate?
Throughout this time, we have continued to abide by Tanium’s core principles which revolve around ensuring customer endpoints and networks are hygienic.
Our offerings provide a perfect fit to help IT teams address the various challenges they are facing as a result of operational changes and the increasing threat of ransomware over the last year.
Remote working has proven to be a persistent challenge, with many organisations becoming increasingly vulnerable to risks due their infrastructure not being able to operate safely in a remote environment. This has created an increase in demand for Tanium, with many businesses identifying through internal audits a need to bolster their security policies and defences.
Our partners have been committed to helping customers through this period by ensuring they have the right technology in place. This enables them to adopt the right risk posture and maintain the IT environment needed to reduce the likelihood and impact of cyber-attacks.
How is Tanium managing to remain agile in the current climate?
A key factor has been in recognising the varying needs of different markets and tailoring our approach to each one accordingly.
We also have a nimble workforce of around 2,000 staff globally who cover a multitude of different markets and disciplines. Having a leaner team compared to some of our competitors puts us in a strong position in some ways as we can react quickly and prioritise key business and customer needs as we identify them. This flexible set up allows us to equip our employees, and in turn our partners, with the right tools and tech needed to deliver strongly in any local region whenever the need arises.
What future plans does the company have?
We are regularly looking to expand by releasing new modules and features on our platform based on our customer needs and the feedback we receive from them. This will be supported by a selective expansion of our partner base over time to increase channel sales. We firmly believe that mass recruiting hundreds of partners doesn’t work, so we’ll be ensuring any partners we work with are a strong fit for Tanium and that we’re a strong fit for them.
Does the company have any plans to target new market segments?
Geographically, we are in the process of expanding our market footprint which involves setting up new entities in Austria and Spain, but also increasing our penetration of Central Europe.
To achieve our growth targets, we’re focusing on investing in Tanium’s channel program and in our partners to generate new leads and awareness. This includes offering SPIFFs to partners and resellers to encourage deal closure, particularly around new logos. We’re in a highly competitive market, so such incentives help us gain mindshare from partners who can help us tap into new market segments.
What changes over the past year for many vendors who sell into the channel have you experienced?
We have been working for a while to strategically pivot our approach to channel. This has accelerated over the past year as we began to witness the change in customer habits brought on by the pandemic, such as the reluctance to buy from new vendors.
Although this has proven to be a challenge for many in the industry, we recognised this behavioural shift early on and worked to address it. We quickly realised the value in utilising the existing relationships our partners have with their customers and positioning our products and messaging to show that we could help them with challenges caused by the pandemic. By adopting this positioning with the right partners, we were able to get a more direct route into the CIOs and decision makers interested in buying our products.
Please could you explain howchannel sales have gone from roughly a third of Tanium’s business revenue to over three quarters and what has influenced this?
We have made a deliberate pivot towards the channel as we firmly believe we have something very relevant for our partners to take to their customers – and that our offering could become a crucial part of our channel partners’ performance. We also knew that Tanium couldn’t scale or achieve the level of growth we are aiming for without utilising our channel offering.
We have developed a company culture around being ‘partner first’ and sometimes even ‘partner only’ and this has been initiated by board-level executives. This approach and the principles it epitomises are so important to gaining the trust of partners. Ultimately, as a hyper-growth company you need people to sell for you when you’re ‘not in the room’, so building this collaborative strategy with partners is crucial to our success.
It’s then a case of sustaining that momentum and using it to create a ‘halo effect’ in the industry. When the partner ecosystem sees you moving customers into the partner landscape, this breaks inertia and can act as a force multiplier in terms of partner trust. We not only hope to grow our own business, but we hope to grow the partner marketplace as well.
How can other channel partners learn from this? Do you have any words of guidance you can offer?
We have invested a lot of time and effort in make sure we work with partners that are right for Tanium and that Tanium is also a right fit for them. This lays the foundation for successful channel operations, so it is important this is not overlooked and that senior decision makers are not carried away by other factors such as industry trends, hype around specific products or how a partner or vendor may be performing financially. This personal approach is recommended over mass recruiting hundreds of partners.
I’d advise channel partners to ensure that what a vendor is offering is relevant, can be articulated easily to customers and fits in to the current proposition they are pitching to the market. Ideally, a vendor’s offering should complement yours and the relationship should be mutually beneficial.
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