Meet the channel manager: Datto

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This article appeared in the February 2016 issue of CRN magazine.

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Meet the channel manager: Datto
Kular Khatra

Kultar Khatra has worked in channel management for the past five years with companies such as Trend Micro and Embarcadero Technologies. Last November, he was hired by emerging backup vendor Datto to lead its Australian channel.

Journey

I started in channel account management with Trend Micro, where I was looking after SMB resellers for New South Wales and the ACT. Then I moved to channel account management for New Zealand, Queensland and Northern Territory.

After working with Trend Micro, I moved to a business called Embarcadero. My goal was developing resellers for C++ software. Previous to that, I was with EMC in inside sales while supporting our larger partners, for example Dell – we used to help their team.

I found the opportunity and connected with James [Bergl, Datto’s ANZ regional manager], and at the same time a reseller of mine from Trend Micro spoke about me and we started speaking about the opportunity and objectives with Datto. 

Bringing a new vendor to the channel

Datto appealed to me as an emerging business with an exceptional end-to-end technology with 100 percent channel focus and commitment and a new solution that resolves the BDI issues with MSPs. That’s definitely what made me want to work for Datto.

We are in the final phases of fitting out our office in Sydney. The plans are to be 100 percent focused on channel and to build out the channel account manager team to about four or five managers for different regions and partners. Along with that, we will grow our technical services team, as well as admin and marketing.

We’ve been very aggressive coming in to the market and trying to bring on new partners. We’ve had the support from our headquarters to actually give away our flagship product.

That’s been hugely successful, because that takes away the overhead upfront so it’s something that’s helped us drive new customer acquisitions, so that’s us trying to get creative and make it as easy as possible to do business with us.

Partner program

The number of partners that are already trialling the solution, have started trading and are being billed for our technology is around 50. The channel has grown 100 percent with the efforts of James since we opened up  an office in Australia.

Our solution is focused to make [backup and disaster recovery] as easy as possible to resell, to manage and to achieve business continuity. Our solution applies to all MSPs. We play in a niche market and our focus is to get out to enterprises.

The focus is on the partners to help them understand the technology, to help them implement it across their system and to have just one solution being managed. In regard to verticals, we do really well when it comes to professional services where business continuity is important, whether it is financials, medicals or any other professional services where the business needs to have a plan in place to ensure business continuity.

Our model is to protect data anywhere. Our solution helps the business get back online within seconds, that’s what we claim.

Lessons learned

The key thing is to be honest with your channel, be honest with your partner, always work as a team, be transparent and have strategic plans. Help your partner grow and focus your plans on their growth. The key is to be close and know your partner’s business. I believe that helps to grow your own business when you focus on the partner. 

The main challenges you come across in the channel are conflict and how to manage it. Because of our technology in Datto, the solution is being sold to an existing customer base. However, the challenge is in being able to educate and get on to partners in the quickest possible time, so that’s something that I’m working on. 


RESUME

  • Nov 2015 – present Channel manager ANZ, Datto
  • Oct 2013 – Nov 2015 ANZ channel manager, Embarcadero Technologies
  • 2011–13 Channel account manager, Trend Micro ANZ
  • 2008–10 Customer engineer, EMC
  • 2007–08 Inside sales, EMC
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