NetApp announces new channel partner offerings

By Maxine Cheung, ITBusiness.ca |  Channel, NetApp

As part of its ongoing channel commitment to make working with NetApp easier and more predictable, the company yesterday announced enhancements to its existing partner offerings, new sales enablement and marketing support.

After leaving her post as vice-president of Symantec's Global Channel Office and joining the NetApp team as vice-president of worldwide channel sales, Julie Parrish said it was her goal to ensure partners stay profitable with the help of predictable and profitable programs from NetApp.

Todd Palmer, vice-president of Americas channel sales at NetApp, said he works very closely with Parrish. Her organization helps to build the partner programs and Palmer's team helps to execute and deliver them in the field.

"In the Americas, we put the first-ever Americas Partner Advisory Council together," Palmer said. "We had 21 partners in the Americas and we brought them together in February to discuss things that were on their mind and to get their ideas on how we could improve on what (partner offerings) we already have."

Last May, Palmer said NetApp launched its Authorized Professional Service Partner (APSP) Program, which encourages partners to sell and offer their own brand of professional services for NetApp solutions.

This time last year, he said there were only five partners in the program. Today, that number has grown to over 105 partners across the globe.

For simplification purposes, NetApp has re-named its VIP Program to the NetApp Partner Program. Now, all types of partners such as SIs, GSIs, cloud-based or hosting providers can use the same program.

"This is a better definition of what the program is," Palmer said. "We want to be easier to do business with and we want to be more predictable for our partners."

Just last month, NetApp launched its NetApp Field Portal, which Palmer said replaced PartnerCenter. The new partner portal, Palmer says, is the same one that NetApp uses internally too.

"Our objective with this is to be able to get what you need and get out," Palmer said. "All of the information is categorized by job title, job classification, role and function. Partners can also customize their page and view as well."

At the same time as its NetApp Field Portal launch, the company also released its automated campaign tool, Campaign Express.

"We've pre-built campaigns that partners can use to take their own solutions and value proposition to then upload their contacts to send out e-mails or mail," Palmer said. "We now have a promotion for partners to get them to use this because from now until July 31, partners can use this tool for free.

There will be a minimal cost for this afterwards based on what the partner's creating."

Palmer said that by announcing these channel program enhancements and new offerings, NetApp is on its way to increasing its market share between now and 2012. In order for the company to get to where it needs to be, Palmer said the company must now also place more focus on the mid-size enterprise space (MSE) and the enterprise space.

"We have to have a better program and go to market strategy around the MSE and enterprise space," Palmer explained. "We need to incorporate our partners around that because to gain market share, we'll have to leverage our partners more than we do today."

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