SonicWall CEO Bill Conner has denied reports that the security vendor has cleared out top-level channel-facing roles.
Reports emerged from ARN last month that Sonicwall has issued redundancies on a global basis, including channel directors, channel territory managers and account executives.
However, Conner dismissed such reports as "rubbish".
"We have gotten rid of resources in Australia," Conner said. "But those claims are not accurate... Geographically we've optimised [management] in different markets.
"In Asia, we're increasing inside sales and renewals, but I am pulling resources out of certain countries because it just doesn't make sense. I can cover them from inside."
Repositioning to target new partners
Conner added that the changes in the firm's channel management is part of its new strategy to go from primarily targeting SMBs, to moving into the mid-tier market.
"Everyone restructures their channels every day. There's always at least five to ten per cent [staff] turnover in channels. When you go from SMB from mid-tier, of course you've got to do something different," he said.
"Gartner says we're number five in the mid-market space. Well, I don't like being number five! So, we're looking for more executives who can do both: direct touch and channel management, all 100 per cent through the channel."
Conner listed Australia, China and "a little bit out of southeast Asia" as regions the vendor has pulled channel resources out of.
Meanwhile, SonicWall's executive director of EMEA sales Michael Berg confirmed that position changes have not been made in EMEA - where SonicWall derives 30 per cent of its revenues.
"Last year we started building our inside sales team in Cork, Ireland, and we are going to extend that as we grow," Berg said.
"We know it's so important for our partners to call in and be supported on the phone instantly, without calling someone who is in the field travelling."
Achieving full independence from Quest
Conner said that the overarching impetus for recent changes has been becoming independent from Quest Software, as of May this year.
"We have freedom now, time-wise and financially" Connor explained.
"Now I can focus on thinking about my partners and customers. In the last nine months, we've come out with 24 new products and we're innovating and extending our capabilities for new kinds of partner as we reposition ourselves to the mid-tier market."
Private equity firm Francisco Partners and investment management firm Elliot Management originally acquired SonicWall and Quest together from Dell in June 2016.
It meant that 18 months ago, SonicWall was operating without its own IT, HR and even finance department.
"We had no corporate backbone - not even our own ERP. Nothing. We've built that from scratch," Connor explained.
"When we originally launched SecureFirst [SonicWall's partner program], it was an instant hit but God, we didn't have the tools behind that at that point...We now have the tools and systems in place for us to sink more resources into our partners."
A new distributor and reassuring partner jitters
On top of changes in channel positions and achieving independence as a company, SonicWall last week signed a deal with Swiss distributor Infinigate for the UK and Ireland.
Infinigate now distributes SonicWall's range of real-time breach detection and prevention cyber security solutions across eleven countries in Europe.
It joins Tech Data and Exertis as the vendor's UK&I distributors.
SonicWall claims that it has hit $530m (€451.05m) in partner deal registration, a 112 per cent year-over-year increase.
"I think our partners are now more comfortable with us as a standalone company. They know if they register with us, they've got a better financial outcome and a better probability sales outcome by working closely with us."
When asked about SonicWall's OEM agreement with Dell, Conner conceded that some partners had been nervous.
"I think there was some cautiousness initially, but as time has gone by, they've seen that we still serve Dell, and they still have a Dell branded product.
"And Dell has moved from a channel play to a direct Dell business for us, predominantly. So we'll always be part of that stack… But now partners can see comfort in working closer with us."
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