MIPS Report: Milestone continues overhaul of Partner Program and more

Oct. 27, 2022
Company's annual partner event reveals a pending cut in partner count, new VSaaS offering, and expanded focus on non-security use-cases

MINNEAPOLIS – Five months ago, Milestone Systems announced it was revamping its partner program – creating a new three-tiered system that would go into effect on July 1. Four months since the new program’s inception, CEO Thomas Jensen and VP Americas Tim Palmquist sat down with SecurityInfoWatch.com at Milestone’s annual MIPS event to update the progress of the program’s transformation.

Jensen explained that the company plans to pare down its global partner list from 11,000 to about 3,500 by mid-2023 – a nearly 70-percent reduction. Jensen said the move was necessary after realizing that “we had become everything for everybody.”

He added: “What was really important for us, as we specialize in both verticals and safety and security solutions, is that we work with the
partners that have the competencies and ability to support customers in those fields. Our whole ambition is for us to be more for the partners that create business, so they can be more for their customers and create more value for them.”

Jensen and Palmquist both emphasized that Milestone will remain an open channel organization with the opportunity for partners to move up through the tiers in the Partnership Program as long as they meet the requirements and agree to terms and conditions.

Palmquist explained that there were many existing partners who had “fallen asleep” over time or possibly been granted privileges without having earned them. The number of tiers in the program was cut from four to three.

“You use programs like this to gain loyalty with partners,” Palmquist said. “You want them engaged with your brand, you want to be loyal to those partners and we would like some loyalty back, and that’s earned from doing business together. Creating mechanisms and cleaning them up from time to time makes a lot of sense.”

Jensen noted that some partners were leading with customers as Milestone dealers, but they “just let us tag along in case there is an opportunistic chance to sell something extra. We love competition and think it’s great that our partners compete, but somebody that throws us in there just to disrupt the market, that’s not necessarily creating value for our customers.”

Palmquist said that if dealers only sell Milestone’s products every third year, for example, they will not be capable of providing the “right
level of service, consulting and integration to customers,” and that by paring down the number of dealers, it will “increase the level of quality our partners are providing to customers.”

Added Jensen: “We will have expectations that partners will sell value to customers and act responsibly in the way they sell products and the way they articulate the value of our product going forward.

It also creates an opening to add more dedicated partners in the future, he said.

“This gives us another opportunity, once you have cleaned out the house you realize there is room for some new furniture,” Jensen said. There are partners who are fully dedicated in healthcare or hospitality that we haven’t worked with in the past. [Paring down the partner list] gives us an opportunity to find those new partners and free up space in our sales organizations to identify who is actually making a difference out there.”

Arcules Comes Home

The biggest product news out of MIPS was Milestone’s refocus on the Arcules brand – a sort of “coming home” for the cloud-based surveillance offering that Canon spun out of Milestone back in 2018.

Jensen introduced Kite powered by Arcules, a scalable VSaaS solution for small- to medium-sized businesses that will complement the company’s existing XProtect product on Amazon Web Services.

“Milestone understands and recognizes the importance of offering a range of hybrid-cloud solutions to address different segments of the security market,” Jensen said in a press release. “We have been making investments in VSaaS offerings for many years to prepare for the future.”

Jensen added that Kite is a logical choice “as more small- to mid-sized organizations search for a cloud-based video technology solution that is easy to deploy, simple to use, has low bandwidth requirements, is scalable across locations, and is secure.”

Slated to be available in January, Kite will automatically integrate access control data with the incoming video data to enable access-based video verification, view camera feeds, and obtain immediate situational awareness, while integrators “no longer need to physically visit multiple sites or spend time on maintenance,” Arcules CEO Andreas Pettersson said. “They can simply install the gateway and be done.”  

Palmquist predicts Kite will be valuable to larger businesses with lots of sites, such as convenience stores, that may not need a more complicated enterprise system that must be duplicated. There’s no intention for Milestone to go into the residential market, he added, but Kite will play well just above that level with small businesses.

Read more about the new Kite offering here.

Expanding VMS Use-Cases

Jensen outlined an ambitious goal of doubling Milestone’s revenue in the next five years, and part of that strategy will be expanding the use-cases for VMS technology beyond security. He said that company executives came to that conclusion during deep conversations about whether the company was future-proof, and that executives realized there were opportunities beyond just security.

While Milestone will not shift away from its core safety and security market, Jensen said the company will be pursuing the healthcare and hospitality verticals, where security infrastructure is mostly already in existence.

Jensen explained that customers are not kept awake at night by not having the latest and greatest products, but instead by “problems they cannot solve.” Thus, focusing on business outcomes and selling value to customers will be a major focus going forward for the company and its partners.

The company examined 25 potential industry verticals and made a case for each outlining how to provide video solutions beyond the security function, as well as whether the industries see the need and are willing to pay for it. “There is so much more that video can bring to our customers,” Jensen said.

For example, through VMS solutions, Jensen sees potential for the company to support healthcare facilities where nurses are short in supply and bogged down with administrative work rather than prioritizing patient care. There is also potential for the technology to influence casino management, he added, using video and software solutions to cut down on problem gamblers.

John Dobberstein is managing editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com. Reach him at [email protected] or connect with him on linkedin.