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Transforming AppDynamics: The Rise of the Channel

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Summary
Gardner Johnson, VP of Worldwide Channels at AppDynamics, shares insights on the tremendous momentum of the AppDynamics Partner Channel including 1st Annual Partner Awards, BEPIC channel sales process, Digital Transformation, and FY20 projections.

To say that we had an epic 2019 fiscal year for the AppDynamics channel would be an understatement. Our momentum and that of our partners hasn’t slowed, and fiscal 2020 looks even more promising. It’s pedal-to-the-metal as we continue to drive AppDynamics further in being the largest and fastest-growing Application Performance Monitoring (APM) company in the world. And we couldn’t have accomplished this without our incredible partners.

I joined AppDynamics around four years ago. I saw an amazing opportunity from both a technology and a partner perspective. Having come from the enterprise software space where every deal was negotiated was quite maddening. AppDynamics is different. Our channel is margin-based and guaranteed. Our partners have predictability in every deal they control. And this made me want to become a part of the AppDynamics channel organization. It was a vision I could embrace.

At that time, AppDynamics showed a strong path to profitability for partners, and I believed the AppDynamics solution would truly show off our partners in the best light possible. It was a coupling of a stellar technology offering with a channel organization that had powerful tailwinds, and a team fully committed to being the best in the industry.

I started running the Americas Channel Organization, which at that point only 30% of deals were touched by the channel. I was recently chosen to lead the Worldwide Channel, and for perspective, at the close of FY19, over 70% of deals are now touched by Channel Partners globally. That’s momentum that AppDynamics and our Partners can be genuinely proud of. I know I am.

Tremendous Channel growth in FY19

For some historical framework, the AppDynamics Channel program launched in 2010, our Titan Partner program debuted two and a half years ago, the Pioneer Partner program started a year ago, and we recently launched the AppDynamics Integration Partners Program. All of these milestone events marked our commitment to make our partners the best in the industry and enabled them to grow their businesses and technology practices significantly during that period.

We’ve doubled down on initiatives like the new Masters Certified Program and our Market Development Funds. Last fiscal year, we trained over 500 Partner Sales Engineers and Solution Consultants. This training methodology allows our Partners to learn why APM is vital to customers and how to discover and develop solution practices across organizations. And, to further enable our Partners, we provide up to 75 percent of marketing funding to our Titan and Pioneer partners.

Recognizing Key Partners

Before going into some other details that are resonating with our Partners, I want to take a step back to recognize a few Partners who went above and beyond with their extensive partnership with AppDynamics. This year, we have launched the Annual AppDynamics Partner Awards, created to highlight the year’s stellar partners.

Leaders within AppDynamics carefully evaluated our partners and their commitment to our collaboration, looking beyond just revenue numbers. For us, we felt that breadth and depth of deal sourcing, landing, expansion, and add-on services were core to how we define an award-winning partner. But also, working together on market awareness and penetration through marketing and sales activities were core to our joint success, and, in turn, a partner’s noteworthiness.

We based our award criteria on three core components:

  1. Partner-sourced revenue
  2. Partner value-add to closed deals
  3. Partner scaling through embedded services and offers

 

I’m excited to announce the following winners of the 1st Annual AppDynamics Partner Awards:

 

These Partners represent innovative organizations who have embraced our partnership and channel, driving mutual success through the past year. Congratulations!

Introducing BEPIC

As I mentioned, AppDynamics has a margin-based channel program. I believe this is one of the components driving the success of our Partners. They have predictability on every deal of their business. And, this protects their investment in the AppDynamics partnership. They don’t have to worry about being squeezed out in the tail end of a deal. But this alone isn’t driving success and momentum.

Our channel organization has fully embraced a sales methodology that was fully implemented at the beginning of 2019. We call it BEPIC.

BEPIC (process) | \bEE e-pik\

A data-proven, collaborative, and actionable strategy in which AppDynamics and its Partners identify revenue opportunities to grow and expand their mutual business. Driven by a shared belief and a defined cadence of activities, champions engage in hand-in-hand discovery, identification, and methodological business growth.

Over the past year of utilizing this 5-step methodology (below), we have witnessed a 70% increase in conversion of deal registration-to-opportunity by our Partners.

Digital Transformation is driving industry momentum

Digital Transformation (DX) is powering the needs of customers. In fact, we are seeing a shift from just infrastructure into business-critical applications. Our technology solutions are the path for our Partners to get aligned with those mission-critical customer organizations who are embarking on or embracing DX.

To say that AppDynamics solutions alone are driving this sea-change would be misstating the reality of the ecosystem. Sure, our technology is an enabler, but what is truly happening is that our Partners are leveraging AppDynamics to tap into new areas of their customer organizations.

Previously, many of our partners didn’t have built-out digital transformation practices. This is changing, however, primarily powered by our Central Nervous System (CNS) ideology and the power of the AIOps mindset where Artificial Intelligence is being utilized for actionable, proactive monitoring of operational environments. It’s all about obtaining Visibility, generating Insights, and subsequent respective Actions.

Partners are now starting to build their own practices around this CNS/AIOps vision. For example, Tanner Bechtel, the Global Practice Leader for World Wide Technology (WWT) APM division, discusses how WWT chose AppDynamics as their APM solution offering for customers. Other AppDynamics Partners are similarly building out blueprints of service integrations using AppDynamics as a critical technology partner, and they continue to build out additional support capabilities to formalize this expansion and drag business in areas where they haven’t ventured before.

And we cannot forget the power of Cisco. We’ve seen a double-digit increase in Cisco’s AppDynamics Partner program funding in FY19, which, in turn, is accelerating partner business growth. Partners are now leveraging integrations of the Cisco portfolio, ACI and CloudCenter, for example, which is a massive benefit to the overall partner ecosystem. And this continues to grow.

I believe this expansion of breadth and depth has created a “perfect storm” for our Partners (BEPIC, CNS, AIOps, IPP, Cisco-integrations, and more), and is allowing our Partners to discover and sell to new groups and business units as well as identify new projects and new customer buyer personas. In the end, this translates to new buying centers within our Partners’ Customer organizations. It’s powering a growth we have never seen previously.

Where do we go from here?

It’s pretty simple, actually. We are going to continue to help our Partners crush it in fiscal 2020. Driving marketing and awareness initiatives, extensive sales training, enabling Partners to build or expand their services practices around AppDynamics, embedding AppDynamics within their existing offerings, are just a few of the many initiatives we will continue to develop and champion.

AppDynamics is the path for the successful implementation of most mission-critical applications and helping our Partners become more strategic to their customers. Digital Transformation is being driven by advancements in technology, and AppDynamics is making those digital experiences superior. But, it is truly our AppDynamics Partners who are trailblazing initiatives, and through our collaborative channel activities, we are better together.


 

Gardner Johnson is the Vice President of Worldwide Channels at AppDynamics. He is a 20-year veteran of software sales but discovered his passion for channels 10 years ago while leading North American Channels at BMC. He then joined AppDynamics in 2015 and helped to build the AppDynamics channel from the ground up. Over the past 2 years following Cisco’s acquisition of AppDynamics he has focused on redefining the channel programs, partner engagement process, and practice build activities to better position partners to capture recurring revenue.

Gardner lives in New Hampshire with his wife and two daughters. He loves the outdoors and through hiked the Appalachian Trail after college. The Johnson family can be found most weekends boating, skiing or fishing.