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Wednesday, Oct 13, 2010

Q&A with Websense Channel Chief Kurt Mills

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Earlier this year, Websense® tapped Kurt Mills to become its Vice President of Worldwide Channel Sales. Recognized for his leadership, IT security expertise and channel experience, Kurt takes pride in getting the job done right the first time by taking the time to listen to the needs of the partner community and their end-users. In this Q&A, Kurt discusses the impact of his new global role at Websense and the channel initiatives currently underway that are making it simple and successful for channel partners to do business with Websense.

Q:  What is your channel experience & philosophy on partnership?

I have worked in the IT channel for more than two decades and have a strong reputation for getting the job done right the first time. It’s important to understand a company’s sales strategy before building one for the channel. The Websense channel and sales organization communicate, cooperate and participate well together which translates into our partners’ success. Our channel community recognizes this and in turn, they are investing in us.

Q:  Have you or will you be making any significant changes to the overall channel strategy and/or the Websense ChannelConnect Program?

I am not here to make radical changes – just the right ones. My team is focused on enhancing the business and making refinements where we need them. Our goal is to grow the business overall and make it that much easier for our partners to build profitable businesses around Websense solutions. We are accelerating our channel success across the board and taking Websense to the next level.

Out of the gate, we’ve developed a worldwide Channel operations team and a Global Partner team. We also introduced a Professional Service Partner group that specializes in assisting our resellers and regional partners. Last but certainly not least, we are in the midst of designing new global programs that will offer greater incentives, more dedicated resources and additional marketing spend.

Q:  Where do you see the biggest opportunity for Websense?

The biggest play for Websense and our partners lies within our new technologies and the WebsenseTRITON™ architecture. According to many IT analysts, the #1 area that companies are going to invest in this year is Data Leakage Protection. Websense has the strongest solution in DLP and offers the only solution that addresses the dynamic Web.

Q:  Where do you see the biggest challenge for Websense?

People still think Websense is a URL filtering company. With new products and offerings comes education. This is an area of the business where you cannot invest enough. 

Q:  What are your primary focus areas in 2010?

One of our top priorities is to ensure that our channel partners support the customers in the segments and verticals  they serve. This underlies all of our efforts. On a more tactical front, we are focused on four key areas internally:

  1. Aligning our channel strategy and programs
  2. Focusing on channel enablement and more direct-touch resources
  3. Identifying and capitalizing on high-growth areas
  4. Maintaining strong partnerships across the board

Q:  Why should partners team with Websense?

Websense gets it and our technology is second to none. We understand the value of partnership. Our team will go the extra mile to earn and maintain our channel partners’ loyalty. 

Q:  What are your goals and strategies for growing the Websense partner community?  Where are you placing your bets?

Our strategy is to enable our partners to move upstream. We do this by providing them the technology, resources and field support they need to successfully sell Websense solutions both locally and worldwide.

As for recruitment, we are not looking to radically expand our partner base. Our priority is growing the business we have with our existing Websense partner base. We are focused on the quality of our partnerships, not the quantity. Again, we will invest more in those Websense partners that invest in us.

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