Channel partners clear a path to a digital future

Oren Yehudai

Equinix’s Channel Partner Program has existed for about three of Equinix’s 20 years, but this relatively new strategy is poised to play a huge role in our future.

The program, which allows our partners to both resell and refer Equinix services, helps firms meet the complex needs of a digital age, when cloud is essential, and companies can’t compete without the superior interconnection that enables opportunities for instant collaboration worldwide.

Platform Equinix® is the program’s foundation. Our global colocation and interconnection platform spans the top markets on five continents and hosts literally hundreds of cloud and network providers.

Service providers can collaborate and innovate across industry ecosystems on Platform Equinix. They can securely deliver the digital services the enterprise needs as it shifts to the cloud. Enterprises, meanwhile, can find resources and expert assistance to implement their hybrid and multicloud strategies on a platform that’s everywhere they need to be.

There’s real synergy here, and big opportunities for new insights and expansion. We’re enhancing the partner program in EMEA to help our customers take advantage of all of them.

Expanding with the enterprise

The Channel Partner Program has grown steadily since its inception in 2015. This momentum is encouraging, and as a company we’ve made a strategic decision to expand the program further. We see it as a key way to serve the increasing interconnection needs of the enterprise market.

Today, we have about 9,800 customers, but we see a total addressable enterprise market of 350,000 companies. There is massive opportunity here, because we firmly believe Platform Equinix is the best place for a business to become a digital business – we’ve designed it that way. Here are a few ways we’ve recently enhanced the Channel Partner Program in EMEA to give enterprises a broader path to the cloud and a brighter digital future:

More locations. Prior to this year, EMEA’s channel organization had teams in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London and Paris, and one person each in Switzerland and Ireland. We’re now adding channel personnel in Dubai, Italy, Poland, Spain and Sweden, because more people means more growth.

A channel strategy doesn’t work if it’s restricted to a limited number of markets. When large enterprises are looking for a global footprint, they always need access to multiple companies in multiple regions. We need to be there for them by extending the channel program to as many places as possible, covering both local channel partners as well as global players locally in that market.

There’s also the simple fact that the best partnerships are developed face-to-face. And you need to be in the local market to truly understand it. Everywhere we’ve increased our presence, we’ve improved our business and increased our “deal registration,” which is when partners come to us with new business opportunities.

More engaged partnerships. When we were building the Channel Partner Program, it made sense to focus on recruitment and relationship building. We’re continuing on this path by engaging our partners on a deeper level through a six-step Partner Activation process where we both define what we hope to gain from the relationship and look at our strengths. We then turn that into a plan about what value we can bring to which customers, and how we can bring it.

As part of the process, we create a joint value proposition, a solution brief for the specific offering (or offerings) we will build, and the go-to-market plan to make it a commercial success. The solutions tend to be based on the technologies of multiple vendors and the unique skills of the partner. Activated partners focus on the specific customer challenge they are addressing and on creating an offering that is clearly differentiated in the market. This investment of time and brain power from both companies really pays off. Last year at this time, we had six partners in this process with us across EMEA. Today, we have 52.

A new kind of relationship. An outgrowth of deeper partnerships is expanded opportunities for both parties. We’ve always worked closely with local managed service providers, systems integrators and network services providers, but now these relationships are evolving from a customer-vendor selling relationship, to a collaboration between companies that can each help the other find more business.

For instance, many customers of our channel partners are deep into the first stages of their cloud journey, trying to figure out things like their long-term hybrid cloud story or how to best execute an edge computing architecture. We have the expertise, clouds and resources available on Platform Equinix to help with these issues, and our partners can be an invaluable reference for us.

The fact is, they know their customers better than we do (“We attend each other’s christenings and bar mitzvahs,” one told me.) They can have a much easier conversation with them about the best ways to utilize Equinix. We want those conversation to happen. And we want to always be the first to refer new business to our partners. With our ever-deepening relationships, we know that will happen.

A DNA change

As encouraged as we are by the growth of the channel program, the high caliber of trusted channel relationships we are talking about don’t develop overnight. Becoming a channel company is not about launching a few initiatives and occasionally checking in on how things are going, it’s a commitment from Equinix to change our DNA. It needs to touch everything we do, from product design, to marketing, to customer relationships. But the benefits are huge, and the company is committed to make this transformation

The same things that can make being a superior channel company challenging – the multiple parties involved, the new dependencies, the changing relationships – can bring rewards that aren’t possible without the deep collaboration these dynamics foster. Let’s face it, in a digital age, no company can make it alone. Equinix’s Channel Partners Program isn’t just about a better tomorrow for us, but for everyone on a global platform that keeps expanding, and that’s designed to always bring the digital future within reach.

Read more about the Equinix Channel Partners Program.

Oren Yehudai Sr. Director EMEA Channel Sales