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sTec, Solera intro channel partner programs; Arbor, Emulex update theirs

Partner programs update: Arbor Networks is recruiting partners in specific verticals, while sTec is selling indirectly for the first time; plus more.

There's been a flurry of vendor activity in the past two weeks, bolstering existing partner programs or introducing new ones, and all geared toward helping partners maximize profits, improve business opportunities and enhance vendor enablement.

Arbor Networks Inc., Emulex Corp., Solera Networks Inc. and sTec Inc. recently made announcements around their channel programs in an attempt to grow their respective businesses and that of their partners in a rapidly changing IT climate.

On Wednesday, Arbor Networks, a provider of network security and management solutions, announced the first major revision of its Advantage Partner Program, first introduced in September 2011. The more mature program offers a new tiered structure designed to support partner ramp-up and highlight the enhanced value proposition of partnering with the company.

"The new program provides more flexibility, allowing partners to decide the best fit for their company while providing Arbor with a base level of partners, plus those with a higher level of skills," said Bill Lipsin, vice president of partners and alliances for Burlington, Mass.-based Arbor Networks.

The vendor continues to bring new partners into the program, mainly those that specialize in certain verticals, such as financial services, ecommerce and government sectors. "We anticipate a 30% growth in our partner base in 2013," Lipsin said.

In late March, Emulex, a provider of network connectivity, monitoring and management, announced its next-generation Connect Partner Program, originally introduced in March 2011. This is the first major upgrade to the Connect Partner Program and includes changes such as a new loyalty program, enhanced reseller training tools, and streamlined deal registration and Web enablement.

"Emulex is looking to increase its presence in the market by better arming its partners to serve a growing market. The storage and networking industry is maturing and lately the market has grown incrementally into a profitable niche driven by demands for better end-user experience and a stronger focus on network applications," said Howard Lo, senior director of marketing at Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Emulex.

The vendor currently has a total of 1,669 global partners, with 852 in North America. The company plans to expand its channel presence in the Asia-Pacific region this year, as well as recruit partners that offer technology and services in complementary verticals, according to Lo.

At the end of March, Solera Networks also made public its 20:20 Partner Program, a global channel program based on the Solera DeepSee Platform. By becoming a Premier partner or authorized reseller, Solera partners receive varied levels of training, inside sales support, deal registration, lead referrals and marketing support, according to the company.

This announcement follows one made in December 2012 that unveiled the Solera DeepSee service offering for managed security service providers.

Solid-state storage vendor sTec earlier this week launched a global channel program, the vendor's first indirect channel partner program, to help meet specific user and application needs.

"This is our first indirect channel partner program. Along with announcing our new Global Partner Program, sTec is also announcing a coordinated effort that is directly linked with our enterprise sales team, which is a new direct sales effort. Our enterprise sales team is tasked with cultivating channel sales efforts in their territories, and the success of the two sales efforts are directly linked," said Ali Zadeh, senior vice president, general manager and chief marketing officer for the systems and software group at sTec.

The sTec Global Partner Program is designed to meet the needs of a diverse set of partners and expand the reach of global sales teams. The program is tiered with three levels (Partner, Gold and Platinum) and rewards partners that invest in building out their sTec business. All sTec partners have access to comprehensive sales and marketing materials, as well as training and financial incentives to promote their sTec business. The program is designed for self-service with high-touch elements for partners that reach the higher levels in the program. Some of the high-touch elements include a deeper level of engagement, enablement and collaboration; co-marketing opportunities; and additional discounts on demo equipment, according to Zadeh.

sTec is seeking partners with expertise in specific vertical markets, territories and industries. For example, the company wants specific enterprise-storage expertise in the oil and gas industry, while other partners may have expertise that would be valuable in other industries.

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