At its third annual ANZ Partner Summit at the end of July, NetApp reinforced its commitment to partners and to securing the number one spot in the ANZ storage market.
In ANZ Vice President Peter O’Connor’s opening remarks he told the audience that they were part of the fastest growing region in the company, with a growth rate of almost 80% in the last year. Quoting virtualisation, Exchange and IP storage as “major winners for us”, O’Connor said that a “great deal of thanks for the tremendous result” was owed to the vendor’s channel partners.
“Our aim for this year,” O’Connor continued, “is to grow at 50% in Australia and to take the number one position in ANZ by Christmas, if we’re not there already.”
While in Australia, 32% of NetApp’s total budget for FY08 was delivered by partners, with a further 14% of named account business also leveraged via the channel community, a full 100% of NetApp’s business is delivered through the channel in New Zealand.
Training has been a big part of NetApp’s success, with a newly enhanced, free training program, including three additional full-time trainers responsible for over 200 sales and technical certifications in FY08. Scott Morris, Director of Partner Sales for NetApp ANZ, intends to double that figure in FY09. NetApp now employs two full time technical trainers and two full time sales trainers, one of whom is a Kiwi who relishes every opportunity to return to New Zealand for a training session.
The recently launched Authorised Professional Service Partner (APSP) program is designed to enable channel partners to achieve the same level of certification as NetApp’s internal technical team. New Zealand partners are already heavily involved in the new training program. “We are committed to getting certifications as high as we can,” stated Morris.
NetApp’s partner program has been revised with a “Silver” level having been introduced among its existing Platinum, Gold and Registered levels. Partner discounts have been increased, with an additional 7% discount up front for deal registration. “Margin is key for your organisations,” Morris told attendees. “We want to put margin in your hand up front. We fundamentally disagree with marketing development funds, in that you have to sell something first; it’s a little back to front. We will help co-fund and drive that business up front.” In fact, NetApp will pay 50% - 60% of marketing funding up front.
Tom Mendoza, NetApp’s global Vice Chairman, entered the Summit wearing an All Blacks jersey, to the delight of the Kiwi attendees, encouraging all partners to view the coming year as a major opportunity to expand their businesses. “The US economy is bad and it’s going to get worse,” he said. “And when the US economy is bad, the rest of the world feels it. Why then, are we going to increase our expenses and take on 500 additional sales people? In the last recession, most of our competitors tried to hang on to business and tighten up. We said, now is our opportunity to grab shares. If everything is working, you don’t change it; you don’t care. In a down time, in troubled times, is when people look for alternatives.”
In addition to increasing its internal sales force, NetApp has made significant changes to the way it will approach the market in the ANZ region. Value Added Distributors (VAD) has been appointed as exclusive distributor in New Zealand, as of 1 July, and nearly a year ago, Distribution Central was appointed as the vendor’s Australian distributor.
“With the distributors we’ve doubled the number of people we have touching the channel,” stated Morris.
Terry Dunn, Managing Director for VAD, told attending media that “New Zealand resellers are more precious about their direct relationships with the vendors, but they’ve become more conditioned to the indirect model”.
Under the old structure and through the initial transition, NetApp acquired 2,300 new accounts in FY08. Time will tell if the new structure is effective, but with O’Connor’s prediction that NetApp will do more than “$200 million this year in ANZ”, the company and its partners have a lot to look forward to in FY09.
Fujitsu NZ wins New Business Deal of the Year
Across Fujitsu NZ, approximately 16 people touch NetApp business on a regular basis. Of those 16, two in particular stood out at the Summit. While Fujitsu NZ unsurprisingly took home the ‘NetApp Partner of the Year 2007/08’ award, it was two standouts from the New Zealand reseller who made a splash with the ‘New Business Deal of the Year 2007/08’ win – Raymond Dickinson and Oliver Bassett.
While details of the deal with part of New Zealand’s defence force are confidential and could not be revealed to NetApp’s other partners or media, it was a significant enough win to stand above partners from all the Australian regions evaluated.
Dickinson has been in a sales position at Fujitsu NZ for approximately three years. His strength lies in his history with Fujitsu NZ and NetApp, and the experience he brings to his customers. Previously an engineer, Dickinson was transitioned into sales, and is Fujitsu NZ’s “best salesperson” according to Managing Director John Cortese.
“We picked him [Dickinson] out of engineering deliberately because we saw that he had the skills and attitude to become a top product solution seller.”
Bassett joined Fujitsu NZ two years ago to support installations, and is an experienced engineer. “He worked extensively with the customers in our full laboratory and just played with the systems,” Cortese told The Channel. “He engages very well with other technical people, and also those who manage the installations.”
“A good salesman,” continued Cortese, “is someone who doesn’t get distracted by the problems. He sees them as an opportunity.”
Clearly, Dickinson and Bassett live up to that definition.