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Bryant taking channel on NetApp’s journey to cloud

The vendor’s recently appointed UK&I channel director, Denise Bryant, shares her immediate priorities as she looks to increase support for partners.

Denise Bryant has an impressive channel CV, with time spent both in distribution and at a senior level at vendors.

Her latest challenge, which she started towards the end of last year, is as channel director for the UK and Ireland at NetApp, ensuring that the vendor is delivering the sort of support partners need as it navigates a changing landscape.

“I have one overarching mantra as the UK channel director, and that is that we have a really solid and loyal collection of fantastic partners in the UK. We work with them tremendously well, they’re all incredibly successful and we are all on this joint journey to the cloud,” she said.

“We need to make that journey as palatable and as easy for our partners as we possibly can. As the channel director, one of the ways I can help our partners in that is by increasing and enhancing the partner experience of working with NetApp, such that we become the vendor of choice for them to work with,” she added.

Bryant has a CV that includes a spell as distribution director for Mitel International and as Arrow UK sales director, plus senior management positions at Magirus, so she is well aware of what makes a channel relationship work.

The firm’s channel is making the shift to the cloud, and the experience of the past year has only accelerated that digital transformation. Customers have been forced to adapt and many find themselves in a situation where they are operating more in a hybrid world.

“The hybrid solution that NetApp is taking to market is massively important, and all of our partners can facilitate that with the end users,” she said.

“We have a solid and loyal collection of fantastic partners in the UK. They’re all incredibly successful and we are all on this joint journey to the cloud”
Denise Bryant, NetApp

Bryant’s knowledge of the channel, and of the storage and data landscape, is an advantage in her current role. She also has a passion for working with partners. “I like nothing better than to have really in-depth meetings with our channel partners to find out what’s going on in their world,” she said.

Her arrival at NetApp comes at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined the need for cloud and better data management, and Bryant is aware that the timing works in her favour. But she pointed out that this strategy has taken time and is not a sudden reaction to world events.

“NetApp decided it would view the cloud, and the journey to the cloud, as inevitable, so it started to plan for it as a tailwind, rather than looking at it as a headwind and something to ignore,” she said.

“The whole of the NetApp portfolio is really starting to come to fruition now for our channel partners, so they really have a fantastic cloud message to take out to users at exactly the right time. Digital transformation is more important now than it’s ever been,” she added.

Like many in the industry, Bryant does not think the world will quite go back to the way it was before Covid, and many of the changes of the past year are going to remain.

Those changes are not just confined to customers and partners. “I’d like to think NetApp has digitally transformed itself and its proposition to the extent that it is now coasting on that digital transformation wave, and it’s a nice feeling.”

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