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Security / April 24, 2017

Solving Bigger Problems for Government: Q&A with Carahsoft

Gigamon prides itself on partnering with the best—and this includes Carahsoft, an IT solutions provider known and trusted for delivering best-of-breed hardware, software, and support to federal, state, and local government agencies. Wanting to learn more about trends in the sector, we knew exactly who to call: Carahsoft VP Brian O’Donnell. We met with Brian to pick his brain about key concerns for agencies and how they’re looking to address them.

What are you seeing as a top challenge for the government sector?

Security is top of mind for everybody. Helping the government solve its point solution problem is a challenge—for them and for us. Rather than going to them with one product to fix one small problem, we combine multiple vendor solutions to solve much bigger problems. That’s valuable.

Carahsoft is unique in that we represent so many different vendors and support so many different resellers. For example, we are the sole government distributor for Splunk, Palo Alto Networks, VMware; and we also support resellers like BAI and ClearShark. While we’re not customer-facing, we have breadth across the public sector given the number of products we sell. As part of our role, we work to train, enable, and help the front-line resellers better understand the challenges agencies are facing while also hosting webinars and in-person events to educate government customers and drive leads back to resellers.

Of the government verticals—federal, state, local, and SLED—which ones are growing?

All of them are growing, but local may be the fastest. It’s interesting because, a few years back when the housing market crashed, there was considerable turmoil in the state and local verticals. While lots of people were getting out of them, Carahsoft made a conscious effort to double down, believing that, at some point, things would turn around. And thankfully, they did. We’re now seeing the fruits of those efforts.

How are budgets these days? More money to spend? Less?

There’s a degree of uncertainty in Washington. Again, while state and local have been healthy as of late, we’re watching and tracking to see what the new administration may to do in terms of budget cuts. It may be too early to call, but we haven’t seen significant impact yet. And because technology is solving so many problems, even if cuts were to be made, we don’t see them affecting technology spend.
Can you share a Gigamon-Carahsoft use case?

For us, a use case centers around figuring out what an ecosystem looks like and how to go to market. When we look at Gigamon, we don’t see a single vendor or a single solution. We see a much bigger story—with Gigamon as a hub from which so many other tools connect. It’s a story that allows Carahsoft to go in many directions.

For instance, do we match vendor to vendor? Do we bring in a BAI or ClearShark reseller? Do we bring together a Gigamon sales rep and a Palo Alto sales rep? We can build a case study around one customer’s experience with various combined product sets that can be used to sell to 10 more customers.

Is that combined solution approach helping Carahsoft grow revenue and brand recognition?

Absolutely. Our company initiative is not to focus on selling point products, but to combine products into a bigger solution. And by solving bigger problems for the government, we’re seeing bigger returns. That’s a win. And by helping resellers position more products to grow the size of their opportunity, we’re, in turn, growing the size of our opportunity. That’s another win.

We’ve also been gaining exposure in vendor sales plays as we do more joint marketing with partners. This includes teaming with VMware, Splunk, Palo Alto Networks, and FireEye at the upcoming Gigamon Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, D.C.

Yes! Carahsoft is managing the Partner Pavilion at this week’s Cybersecurity Summit. Can you tell us more about that?

With the Partner Pavilion, our goal is to bring together the right resellers and vendor ecosystem partners to help tell that bigger, more complete story. Since partnering with Gigamon a few years ago, we’ve seen again and again how the Gigamon Visibility Platform is central to any security architecture. We want customers to walk away with a better understanding of how Gigamon fits into their overall security architecture, as well as how other ecosystem partners and Carahsoft can further help solve their challenges. I think the event will be a home run.

To learn more, register to attend Gigamon’s 2nd annual Government Cybersecurity Summit, taking place this week (April 26) in Washington, D.C., and featuring keynote speaker General James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence.

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