Vertiv: Partner Experience, Product Innovation Lead To First ARC Win

CRN Monday released the scorecards for the 2023 Annual Report Card Awards, where Vertiv for the first time nabbed the crown in the Power Protection and Management category. Vertiv Global Director of Product Marketing Song Lu recently spoke to CRN about the company’s win and the opportunities he sees ahead for channel partners.

Jennifer Follett, Executive Editor, CRN: I’m Jennifer Follett with CRNtv, and I am here with Song Lu of Vertiv. Thank you so much for joining me.

Song Lu, Global Director, Product Marketing, Vertiv: It’s a pleasure to be here, Jen.

Follett: We’ve got something really exciting to talk about, which is Vertiv’s win in the ARC this year, 2023’s protection and management category. First year with a victory for Vertiv. Congratulations.

Lu: Thank you. We’re absolutely delighted to take this award, and, it’s especially gratifying. I’d like to quote Pete Klanian, our North American business leader, saying that partners are the central part of our strategy and what Vertiv is, so it’s especially, especially gratifying for us to take this award, and we’re very grateful.ADVERTISEMENT

Follett: Talk a little bit about why you think this has come about. What’s resonating right now with partners that really led them to give you these high marks?

Lu: Absolutely. I think it’s not based on one particular factor. We’ve over the past several years been meticulously focused on partner experience as well as product innovation and our coverage model as we go to market. So there’s a few things in those areas where we’ve particularly focused on. One of which is, first and foremost, Vertiv is a North America-based company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. And as such, we have several decades of history here in this continent, and that has allowed us to amass quite a few offices. We have over 50 offices across North America, and we certainly have been leveraging those resources in order for our sales support services staff to go onsite with our channel partners to go to market together, do site assessments, demonstrations, product specifications and just generally understanding customer needs, because understanding customer needs is fundamental to our objective of being partner-focused as well. We understand that for us and our channel partners, we have a mutual ownership of each other’s reputations. And as such, it’s very important for us to understand that the life that they’re going through, you know, the challenges that they’re undergoing with their customers that understand those challenges and support them effectively.

Follett: Talk a little bit about the breadth of the portfolio and the opportunity that affords to your partners.

Lu: Absolutely. And the breadth of portfolio is another, we believe, key success factor. Certainly the power and cooling business has been very strong over the years and especially the last two years we’ve seen tremendous growth in our single-phase UPS business, in particular in our lithium ion single-phase UPS business. So lithium ion battery technology has really ramped up immensely, and last year we had triple digit growth. This year we’re seeing that continues trend of triple digit growth as well. So we’re immensely excited about that. But this could not have been done without our channel partners. This is a channel product, and our partners are the folks that are working with us out there advocating for the product. And we’re seeing the fruits of that labor right now.

But we’re not a one-trick pony here. It’s not just a UPS business. Our sales and channel folks always echoed this as well. We have a fairly comprehensive solution portfolio from power and cooling under the Liebert sub-brand that is very well known, to IT management and connectivity solutions. This allows folks to connect to servers, storage and networking gear as well as manage remotely UPS PDUs and provision for those devices, create automation and remotely access those devices, and then integrated solutions and monitoring. So throughout especially the last several years, we’re seeing this growing trend of pre-fabricated, integrated solutions, right? So standardized components, but built into a solution that solves specific customer problems. So those are the areas that we’re focused on, and those are the trends that we’ve been leveraging.

Follett: With more companies these days pushing employees back into the office, is that creating some new opportunities for sales for the channel partners? More people are going to be in the office now?

Lu: We believe so. We’re seeing trends of anything from back to the office to at least a hybrid back to the office. I think certainly many of us throughout the last several years have missed that degree of collaboration, and the back-to-the-office momentum has certainly created additional needs to use more devices or upgrade devices, so that is a boon to our IT connectivity and management business in terms of our desktop solutions. In addition to that, it does create more capacity requirements in offices. As people go back in, there’s going to be higher power and thermal management demands on infrastructure. There’s going to be demand on networks and infrastructure it’s protecting, and so maintaining that uptime, protecting valuable IT gear when there is more use of it, when there’s more pressure on it, that is absolutely something we’re keeping an eye on and something we’re benefiting from.

Follett: And what about as your partners are preparing to finish strong in 2023 and get ready for 2024, where should they be placing their bets with Vertiv?

Lu: That’s a that’s a great question, and I think there are a few areas where our partners can certainly capitalize with us. Like I mentioned earlier, we’re not a one-trick pony in our business. And it’s not just the power and cooling business, although we have a very long tradition in power and cooling under the Leibert brand, for example, our Avocent sub-brand is the original creator of the KVM, keyboard/video/mouse technology, the first secure switch that was invented. We have a sub-brand called Geist, which creates made-to-order custom PDUs that is lauded by anything from government entities to research facilities to large data centers for AI-focused applications. And then in addition to that, we’re well-known for large thermal solutions. We are looking at this current focus on things like AI applications, like the compute applications, large thermal from Vertiv, we feel, is truly unparalleled in this business.

And so I certainly want to encourage our partners to speak to us about what you know, us for, which is power and cooling, but also speak to us about IT connectivity, automation, even certain larger solutions that we sometimes see don’t see on a day-to-day basis in the channel. We work with our channel partners to build prefabricated large-format solutions deployed onsite with our customers, and I certainly would like to see more of that as part of our business. That’s where I definitely recommend that our partners capitalize.

One quick note about our channel partner program. Of course, we over the past several years have invested a lot to revamp our partner portal, and we certainly encourage our partners to check out our partner portal as well as our partner programs like our trade in programs in order to capitalize on that. There are a lot of great programs that can make us mutually successful, help our partners build the profitability of their business and, at the same time, work together to deliver solutions using these programs. So we certainly want to encourage that.

Follett: Well, thank you so much for being here and congratulations again on your big ARC win.

Lu: Jen, thank you very much for the opportunity. We’re delighted.LEARN MORE: Power-Heating and Cooling  | Enterprise Opportunities 

 Learn About Jennifer Follett


Jennifer Follett is the Executive Editor for CRN where she has been covering the IT solution provider channel for 20 years. She currently oversees CRN magazine and, the website for the industry’s leading channel publication. She can be reached at [email protected].


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