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NetApp gets inclusive

01 Jul 09

Every year NetApp reviews the effectiveness of its partner program and this year was no exception. While the changes may seem quite minor, they reveal some interesting hints as to the company’s future direction.

Globally 70% of NetApp’s revenue last year was through the indirect channel, with that figure being 100% in New Zealand. Scott Morris, Director of Partner Sales, ANZ, NetApp said: “The intent is to absolutely drive local engagement and local capability to be able to deliver to the same capability as if NetApp were to install themselves.”

Feedback from partners about the existing partner program has been very positive, so this year’s program changes are fairly small, but still significant.

Firstly, the name has been changed from the VIP (Very Important Partner) Program to the NetApp Partner Program. While this may sound rather uninspiring, Julie Parrish, NetApp’s Global VP of Partner Sales (who has a history of creating straightforward names for partner programs at Symantec and Veritas) pointed out that simple can sometimes be best.

According to Parrish, the name will translate into all languages, “has longevity” and is much more inclusive, no longer implying that some partners were more important than others.

She explained: “As we diversify our pathways and add more relationships with hosting providers and services providers, we don’t have to come up with a new name for the program for all these partners to fi t into. It’s a simple change, but refl ective of being a little bit more inclusive of all the types that are in our partner program today or that we can’t imagine, going forward, what they might be.”

There are three other changes to the program: a NetApp Field Portal, the Campaign Express tool and an extension to the NetApp Get Successful Partner Enablement Program.

The new field portal provides partners with the same information that the direct-selling NetApp branded sales people use. “It’s a pretty nice message to give, and fairly unique in the industry,” explained Parrish.

The Campaign Express will be available to New Zealand partners in September and provides partners with marketing support, NetApp brand or emphasise their own brand.

And finally, video on demand, workbook guides and CDs are now available through the NetApp Get Successful Partner Enablement Program to “make sure partners get information in a format that best suits them”.

In other news, Parrish suggests resellers keep an eye out for NetApp in the mid-sized enterprise space, and also in hosting.