Challenging macro-economic conditions mean that vendors must work harder than ever to stand out from the competition. This is not just achieved through great products, but also through strong relationships with both customers and partners in which all parties feel valued, expertise is shared, and common goals are worked towards.
CRN heard from Andy Ritchie, Senior Director, UK&I Partner Sales at Zscaler about how the cloud security company is improving its channel and partner programmes, the role of sustainability initiatives, and how they are bringing zero-trust solutions to their customers.
What growth opportunities have emerged for channel transformation in region in recent years?
"The amount of change UKI (and other regions in EMEA) has experienced macroeconomically in the past couple of years has been immense. As an OEM, we need to ensure we work hard to align our programmes and go-to-market (GTM) strategies with those of our customers and partners. This is something we have done at Zscaler through the simplification of our GTM in UKI, underpinned by our channel programmes.
"This has resulted in a number of significant changes. There has been an increase in customer engagement leading to platform expansion opportunities and further increasing our already very strong NPS score, new innovations in our platform through co-created offerings with our technology alliance and managed services partnerships, and expanded our UKI market presence into more verticals and segments.
"These changes have been recognised by our partners in their annual vendor awards, which we are hugely proud of."
What initiatives do you believe the channel in the UKI region should prioritise to further drive business growth?
"Zscaler has brought in a massive amount of change and (most importantly) simplification to our partner programme in the last 12 months. This includes investments in rebate programmes and distribution programmes, which we will continue to develop more in the coming months at a global level. Specific to the UKI, we are focusing on launching more initiatives in 2024 which we are confident will continue to drive profitable growth for our partners in the region.
"Sustainability initiatives remain a significant focus for Zscaler as an organisation as we drive towards Net Zero and we are planning on bringing in new initiatives in the UKI focused on addressing our customers' and partners' sustainability agendas.
"The public sector segment is facing some very specific challenges as it relates to the deployment of Zero Trust architectures and will be a large focus for Zscaler in UKI during 2024.
"In addition, Zscaler will focus on MSP programme enhancements that revolve around removing restrictions. These changes cannot simply be a load of artificial rules that don't really serve any purpose, they need to enable partner-customer relationships."
Why is collaboration and open dialogue crucial for capitalising on growth opportunities in the UKI and EMEA region?
"It sounds basic, but the foundation for all of the changes Zscaler has made to our GTM motion in the UKI in these past years has been as a result of listening to our partners.
"Changes can only be made if there is open and constructive discussion. Based on conversations with partners, Zscaler has taken action to simplify our UKI GTM and, arguably most critically, evolve our sales process to bring partners in at a much earlier stage to drive the right outcomes for the partner and customer.
"It takes time and there is certainly more Zscaler can and will do, but I believe we are making progress and developing trusted relationships which are now leading to more opportunities for both ourselves, our partners and also our customers."
How will Zscaler's new programmes both in the region and globally create significant growth opportunities for partners? How does Zscaler's Zero Trust platform align with these opportunities?
"The global macroeconomic climate will accelerate the need for Zscaler's Zero Trust platform over the course of 2024. To ensure Zscaler stays ahead of the competition and addresses our customers' and partners' needs, we have invested in our platform and GTM motion massively. For example, our new AI service for generating and automating reports, platform developments around IT/OT and 5G, and feature enhancements to our ZIA, ZPA and ZDX products.
"These investments are all underpinned by a series of partner programme enhancements. For example, Zscaler recently launched a rebate programme which is the simplest in the industry. Further enhancements are coming to our MSP programme, as well as more investments in our GTM teams."
In terms of investment priorities for the new year, how does Zscaler provide a growth-focused solution that organisations in the UK and EMEA region should prioritise?
"Cyber security investment will remain a key focus for enterprises in 2024, as the risk from bad actors is exacerbated by the current macro-economic challenges. Zscaler's comprehensive and simple solution addresses many of these security challenges.
"There are also specific use cases in the UKI that Zscaler is uniquely qualified to address around M&A, enabling third party access and cost transformation that will empower our customers to safely focus on their own business priorities."
What specific growth opportunities does Zscaler offer to customers in the UK and EMEA region as they transition from traditional network security technologies to modern, Zero-Trust enabled postures?
"Zscaler provides a secure digital experience for its customers with the aim of reducing complexity whilst enhancing protection. Benefits include cost consolidation from legacy-based security products, accelerated M&A or divestiture capability, and AI-based threat analysis."
This Article is sponsored by Zscaler