NetApp ushers in Partner Sphere

Vendor’s partner programme will drive its channel towards the high-revenue areas of cloud and services

NetApp has announced the launch of a fresh partner programme as the vendor looks to drive partners towards cloud and services.

The company is also making changes that should make life easier for partners as it brings together programmes under a single umbrella with increased support and certifications for partners. The tiers of the new offering will be approved, preferred, prestige to prestige plus.

Jenni Flinders, senior vice-president, Worldwide Partner Organisation at NetApp, has been driving the changes since joining the vendor just over a year ago.

“My role is to look at the whole global corporate strategy for NetApp and we are partner-led and our partners are absolutely instrumental to our growth and success,” she said. “It’s really mutually beneficial for us to make sure that we have robust programmes to engage with our partners.”

The expansion of NetApp, largely as a result of acquisitions, has meant the firm is more cloud-focused – and that has had an impact on the contents of the partner programme.

Flinders added: “After joining, we looked at what we had in the programme and you’ve seen NetApp grow and evolve as it relates to our product portfolio. We took a step back and said, ‘we need to make this a lot easier for our partners to engage with us as well as be encompassing across all different kinds of partner business models and routes to market’.”

The result is a shift from the Unified Partner Program to NetApp Partner Sphere, with an emphasis on cloud and services.

“It’s going to be predictable, yet flexible, for different routes to market under one programme,” said Flinders. “It’s going to be cloud-focused and services-led, so network partner theory is going to deliver a flexible path to the enhancement and the growth for our partners, both on their capability and commitment.

“Being a premier data storage and cloud portfolio company, we are absolutely committed to working with partners to grow and to make sure that we are helping deliver those more customised solutions that fit customers’ changing needs.”

The vendor will introduce the changes in FY24, but is giving partners the heads-up now that things will be shifting and giving them the chance to line up behind the three tiers and focus on competencies.

The competencies are based around three areas: integration, managed services and lifecycle services.

Flinders added: “We want to make sure that this transition is a smooth and good experience for our partners. We are starting the communication really early to show partners how they can go from the specialisations and incorporate themselves into the competency categories, as well as the service certifications.”

The benefits

Partner Sphere has been set up with the aim of supporting and rewarding those partners that focus on selling cloud and digital transformation services.

“We want to make sure that we are designing explicitly within the programme to validate and reward partners that offer highly specialised services,” said Flinders.

  • Providing flexibility with three tiers, automation and a single programme.
  • Training tools and support to help partners gain competencies.
  • Solution competencies should help partners stand out from each other.

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