Aerohive's Kurt Mills Pilots Accelerated Channel

Aerohive's new vice president of channels, Kurt Mills, discusses Aerohive's planned channel growth. With Aerohive earning the number 5 spot on Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 list, its success is well timed for a company seeking continued channel traction amid a world of growing wireless challenges and mobility.

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kurt_millsAerohive Networks has appointed a new vice president of channel sales, Kurt Mills, as Aerohive seeks to expand its wireless infrastructure business. Mill's appointment marks the start of an accelerated strategy in delivering "cloud-enabled networking" while capitalizing the growing need for wireless capabilities in an increasingly mobile world.

Kurt Mills carries twenty years of channel-centric experience behind him, and comes to Aerohive from security company WebSense, where he held a similar position heading up worldwide channels. Mills' focused on scaling business through distribution and grew WebSense's channel to $400 million in annual sales. Mills is expected to do more of the same at Aerohive, lending his distribution prowess and existing "strategic relationships" to create a broader sales strategy for Aerohive.

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For a company of Aerohive's size, prioritizing the channel is a smart move and this focus coincides with a solid industry boost. Deloitte has recognized Aerohive as the number 5 company on the 2012 Technology Fast 500 list. Aerohive has grown 44,569 percent inside the 2007-2011 time frame, making it one of the fastest growing companies in North America. With over 6,000 customers, Aerohive has a comparatively small but sizable customer base, easily expanded via the channel. Speaking with Channelnomics, Mills called the Deloitte listing "fantastic," and said it "validates everything Aerohive is doing."

"It's an old fashioned story," explained Mills. "The market is evolving and you're seeing works and users want to work anywhere on any device without headaches and complexity. We provide that functionally," Mills said, referencing BYOD and other mobility challenges. "We're taking the right steps to making this a $500 million company."

These steps to success have also given Aerohive an ability to challenge larger vendors with competitive displacement offerings. Most recently, Aerohive went after Meraki customers, amid Cisco System Inc.'s plans to acquire the rival wireless networking company.

Mills cited Aerohive's wide-scale flexibility and cloud-based management  as a major competitive differentiator in that process. "Time will be the true test of how things play out, most of us here have a history with channel success," quipped Mills, who was doubtless about Aerohive's ability to continue its momentum. "Aerohive has given me the resources to create a channel that can scale to $1 billion. I challenge Meraki to do the same."

But just what is Aerohive's doing today to become a competitive player the wireless space? "Fortunately for us, Aerohive has already scrated the surface. We have lots of partners ready to go. We've been busy making more channel resources internally. But you'll see a lot more out of us in the coming weeks. We're proactive with the partner community. It's important in a growing organization like this."

Speaking to that existing base of partners, Mills also felt they were also a catalyst for Aerohive's expansion. "A lot of partners  provide different routes to market. It's important in a growing organization like this," said Mills, noting that Aerohive intends on using existing partner avenues in understanding "how it can leverage these routes to scale as a company." Today, Aerohive has a base of regional VARs, MSSPs, distributors and even telecommunication companies.

For the foreseeable future, Aerohive will be focusing around the traditional partner footholds, including training programs, enablement resources and other channel-friendly material. The plan is to ensure partners are well certified, positioning them to autonomously create new their own revenue opportunities. Mills says Aerohive is dedicated to this idea, as Mills' previous efforts to prioritize certification at WebSense helped fast-track many successful partner paths. "There were over 800 partners with top certifications when I left WebSense," said Mills.

To that end, Mills said that in the next 6 months, Aerohive would be launching a more structured approach for its go to market strategy. And with the future undoubtably in wireless, Mills was confident that Aerohive is "ahead of the curve and can beat the others," not just from a product standpoint, but from "the next phases of our VAR involvement.

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