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i365 expands global partnership program

Seagate Technology's services company takes steps to beef up its channel program.

i365, a subsidiary of Seagate Technology that specializes in storage services, revamped its Global Partner Program to facilitate working with the channel.

The changes i365 made to its partner program include:

• adding a referral partner option to its partner classification program;
• making the entire i365 product portfolio of data protection, retention management and e-discovery available to partners;
• adding territory and channel relationship managers;
• defining when i365 will not compete with customers the partners have already developed and secured;
• offering additional discounts for partners that register customer opportunities through the i365 online partner portal; and
• developing monthly newsletters and webinars to keep partners up to date on new technologies and products, and adding a dedicated partner telephone help line.

i365's partner program includes small VARs, medium-sized IT service providers, emerging managed service providers (MSPs), and enterprise sales and support organizations.

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"The first concern we addressed is our partners' profitability and net operating margins," says Carolyn Crandall, i365's senior vice president of worldwide marketing. "How do we come up with a program that's very profitable for [our partners] so that they are interested in selling both the breadth and the depth of our product portfolio?"

Paul Myerson, a senior channel analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, says the changes prove i365 is serious about making a go of it in the channel. "It shows the company's commitment to the channel and its flexibility to do things the channel requests," he said. "i365 listened to the channel."

i365 also changed the classification and compensation for its partners. Authorized Partners are generally referral partners that receive commissions on closed deals. Certified Partners have more extensive product offerings, as well as installation and support capabilities. Alliance Partners cover large enterprise sales.

"We feel that having a blended mix of sales routes will be very important, and we've tried to build our channel partner program with these different partner types in mind," Crandall says.

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