Thales Blog

A New Era for the Thales Channel Program

November 11, 2022

John Polly John Polly | Vice President, Global Channel and Alliances, Thales More About This Author >

I often define Thales as a channel company — and there’s a lot of pride behind that statement. We put a lot of hard work and effort into ensuring that our channel partners are set up for success when they go to market with our products. But we also know that there’s always things we could be doing better.

In the almost one year since I’ve been at the company, our team has done a remarkable job at identifying potential improvements and taking a driven approach to making them happen.

Take, for instance, our Alliance organization, which includes all our tech partners. We have over 400 companies that have integrated their software with our products — and when I joined, these were all treated in the same capacity. These integrations are very important for our customers and strengthens our ecosystem. That said, we did not have clear go to market plans with all of these partners.

As a team, we set out to choose our top 10 strategic alliance partners that could really move the needle for us. We asked ourselves, which of these partners have the most potential? Who can we best leverage from an opportunity and revenue standpoint? Which of these companies stand to win the most from having a more integrated partnership with us?

In true Thales fashion, we ended up with a top 11. But that gave us a priority group to focus on. Now, we could invest the time to develop more customized go-to-market strategies with the partners that are most likely to drive the most revenue for us. The result would not just be a deeper and stronger relationship, but also robust case studies and success stories that we can share with our other partners. This is exciting for us, and we’re exercising a lot of new muscles in doing this work. As we come up to the first-year mark of this initiative, the next step will be to assess whether these top 11 still make sense as our top Alliance focus.

It’s this type of thinking that we want to take to the rest of the organization. With our GSI team — which covers global system integrators and service providers, as well as several key OEM partners — we’ve become more strategic by reducing the number of partners and rethinking how we communicate with them. For instance, the team is doing more work to proactively reach out to GSIs and GSPs when they show up as a provider in a new opportunity. Plus, we’re also doing more to ensure that they understand how our roadmap aligns with their models, and that they can articulate the value that their customers gain by using our products. We want to build strong governance, joint marketing and demand generation with these partners.

We see our GSI channel as a particular area of interest, especially with how the market is behaving currently. At the end of the day, when it comes to data sovereignty, companies are less and less keen to hand over the keys to the kingdom, and they want to leverage vendors they already trust. We’ll be using this lens as we revisit our segmentation processes later this year to better understand where we should focus our efforts.

As you can see, there’s lots of work happening in this team, and it by no means stops there. We’ve launched a partner rewards platform that celebrates our relationships, as well as a marketing platform where partners can access materials for their own sales initiatives. We’re also looking at developing a global discount structure so that it’s consistent across the board, making things easier for any of our resellers.

We’ve also taken a look inwards. Thales is the product of a number of mergers and acquisitions, and we know that’s taken a toll on our distributor environment — it’s just too cluttered. This is why we’ve launched an RFI process to determine who our distributors are going to be, in the hopes of selecting a group that will do the most for us and our partners. We can capture more value out of our distributors to help our ecosystem with enablement, sales support, training and technical support but we need to consolidate our distribution network to unleash this additional value.

Beyond that, we’re also implementing a new subscriber management system that’s due to go live before the end of the year. Plus, we’ve recently acquired OneWelcome, a leader in the CIAM space, which is bound to reshape how we go to market with some of our partners.

For me, the last year has been thrilling. I’ve had the chance to be a part of transformational change here at Thales, and I’m excited to see how it shapes our channel partnerships moving forward.

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