Coming into focus

Micro Focus launches a new partner programme and portal.  

Gary de Menezes, Micro focus Gary de Menezes, Micro focus


It’s heading for two years since Micro Focus completed its merger with HPE’s software business, and, it appears, things are finally settling down.

It’s completed a $400 million share buy-back programme, sold off open source business SUSE for $2.5 billion, and has a refocused management team. The market seems to like this, and its stock, at the time of writing, is hovering around the $23 mark. Locally, it’s grown its licence revenue by 39% year-onyear, as well as increasing the percentage of revenue that goes through its partners to about 80% of the company’s total local revenue.

But, as Remco van Dijk, the channel director for Northern Europe and Africa, puts it: “It’s been a bumpy ride, and absorbing the HPE business presented unseen difficulties.”

Still, that’s all behind it now, says Van Dijk, and the 'pragmatic' leadership of Stephen Murdoch has provided a clear-eyed view of the company for customers, analysts, partners, and employees.

It also has a new global partner programme, as well as a new partner portal. It recently gathered its partners at an event in Johannesburg, to share some of these announcements.

Join the party

Country manager Gary de Menezes told partners that those who’d worked closely with the company had seen the benefits, and invited those on the outskirts, to ‘join the party; there’s enough space for everybody’.

Micro Focus has such a broad portfolio that it doesn’t have a lot of channel overlap, and there were a host of speciality areas, he said, adding that a number of customers weren’t even aware that they were using Micro Focus products.

How does it go about selling all these diverse products, is a question not lost on De Menezes, who countered with: “How do we tell our customers who we are?”

Part of this involves some self-introspection, the result of which is a new go-to-market strategy, launched in November last year. The company is now focussed on these areas: enterprise DevOps, hybrid IT management, security, and predictive analytics.

The company has a mix of old and new products, and is thus able to pursue a unique approach. Firstly, Micro Focus, which is a 40-year-old company, maintains that it never sunsets a product, nor will it ever rip and replace a system. It also integrates new technologies into legacy systems, as well as modernising applications.

De Menezes said legacy systems are still at the core of the business for of all its customers, but these same customers now have new expectations borne from the increased ease that consumers now expect.

King of the IT budget

De Menezes said in the early 2000s, the owner of a company’s technology budget was the CIO. “The CIO was king, and then we hit a recession, and the IT budget halved,” he said. Business lines then began to be responsible for their own budgets, which, he said, created a new set of problems, such as a lack of corporate governance and guidance.

“We’re in an environment where there has to be synchronisation between the CISO, CIO and CEO. The power has been spread among multiple people who now need to work together.” Van Dijk remembers, at least two decades ago, someone telling him, ‘that the mainframe business was dying’. “It’s not dying. Our COBOL business is one of the biggest growth portfolios we have. The whole of the internet is based on it, banks, aircraft, everything.

“The analysts are now realising you shouldn’t rip and replace. What’s already there, and working, needs to be modernised and made better. We understand the  old world, and we also know how to modernise it.”

Partner Programme

Micro Focus’ partner programme is built on a single platform with consistent membership requirements across three tiers: authorised, gold and platinum. The portal provides access to marketing resources and training materials. Mike O’Neill, the president of worldwide indirect sales, said he expected more than 10 000 partners to log in monthly.

Benefits now include:

 •  Enhanced deal registration which helps protect partnersourced deals.
•  Improved SaaS offerings ensure rebates are paid out earlier, up to three years in advance.
 •  The upgraded market development funds programme streamlines the provisioning of marketing funds for gold and platinum partners.
•  Quicker deal registration, quotes and orders