NetApp looks to help partners stand out from the crowd

Vendor has made a series of enhancements to its partner programme in an effort to widen the base and improve life for those that are already signed up

NetApp has announced plans to roll out a number of enhancements to its partner programme in an effort to make life easier for both resellers and customers looking to identify who best to work with.

This is the time of year when the data player updates its channel scheme and it has made some enhancements to its Unified Partner Programme.

The main idea is that the programme will align with partners’ business capabilities and models, which should make it easier for them to gain rewards and for users to identify who they want to work with.

“Customers need partners who are subject-matter experts and can help them successfully design and implement their digital transformation projects,” said Chris Lamborn, head of global partner GTM & programs at NetApp.

“That’s why, in the coming fiscal year, we will recognise partners based on their demonstrated ability to sell, implement and support NetApp-based solutions in areas that accelerate a successful digital transformation journey in a hybrid multicloud world.”

The coming enhancements include unifying contracts and offering fewer, more focused incentive programmes. Registered partners will have access to more training and there is also investment from the vendor in the incentives, with more on offer for those bringing new accounts on board.

The vendor has also decided to recognise partners by the registered gold, platinum and star levels. There will also be an opportunity for those with specific industry knowledge around the likes of XaaS, cloud and converged infrastructure, to be rewarded.

The updates to the channel programme come into effect from the start of next month.

“We continue to monitor the business climate and changes in technology and the industry, as well as listen to both partners and customers on a regular basis,” said Lamborn. “As the next year progresses, you will see us roll out new features of our partner programme, with an eye towards more simplification, increased profitability and additional ways for our partners to differentiate.”

The importance of the channel to NetApp was made clear earlier this year when the vendor revealed that increasing demand from commercial customers has seen NetApp’s channel revenues in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) hit 91%.

Speaking in February, Kristian Kerr, NetApp’s vice-president for partners, EMEA, said the company was embracing a wider partner base, with the born-in-the-cloud crowd, but was also looking to build the market with its existing channel base.

“The traditional partner base we have grown up with over the years – we want to protect, manage and grow that business,” he said. “We want to help them absorb more of our technology and skill-enablement activities to get them cloud-ready.”

NetApp programme enhancements

Vendors like to talk about pillars and share a few points to help explain the strategy and NetApp is no different when it comes to summarising the main changes to the Unified Partner Programme:

  • Simplification: The vendor is unifying contracts with the aim of having a single version for partners and it is also streamlining its guides and policies and offering fewer incentive programmes.
  • Expansion: The decision to add registered level partners will expand the ecosystem and Cloud First partners are being added to the programme.
  • Investment: The vendor has a number of tools – WorkSpan and the Partner Incentive Tool – that will make planning and gaining MDF easier.
  • Differentiation: Partners that have particular technical expertise will be showcased by the vendor and it has also updated the long-standing FlexPod specialisation, simplifying the requirements and enhancing the financial benefits.

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