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NetApp partner program gets a refresh

NetApp continues to evolve its channel strategy with a raft of partner program updates. NetApp partners will have access to new incentives, simplified sales processes and more.

NetApp, a legacy data storage supplier, has been evolving into a cloud-based vendor and its channel programs have been changing in kind.

In an attempt to boost sales, the company this week revealed several updates to it its Unified Partner Program, including increased NetApp partner incentives. The updates are will be available Aug. 1.

In business since 1992, NetApp is No. 2 in storage systems market share behind Dell, according to IDC. As that market commoditized, the vendor extended its reach into software-, cloud- and subscription-based services.

"We see ourselves supplying enterprise Data Fabrics that support data services across on-premises and public cloud systems," said Chris Lamborn, head of global partner go-to-market (GTM) and programs at NetApp.

Upgraded NetApp partner incentives

Under the latest program enhancements, NetApp partners will get credit, regardless of where and how customers purchase a solution, the company said. For example, if an enterprise purchases a NetApp cloud product via the AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud marketplaces, NetApp partners will still receive sales credit.

The company said it is also modifying its sales incentives with an emphasis on enticing partners to land new business. If partners close a deal where NetApp displaces a competitor, they can now earn a 20% commission in addition to the 10% already given for any new deal, for a total of 30%, Lamborn said.

NetApp said partner rebates are now paid faster through its Run2NetApp incentive program. The vendor also launched a new Tech Refresh incentive program to encourage partners to work with existing customers.

Additional enhancements

NetApp said it aims to remove the friction partners sometimes encounter during the sales and support processes. The vendor is moving to unify contracts and agreements, simplify its guides and policies, and retool its approach to incentives and growth reward programs.

In addition, NetApp outlined the following enhancements:

  • NetApp will expand access to communications, enablement and training for partners in its entry-level Registered tier. The Unified Partner Program operates with Registered, Gold, Platinum and Star program levels.
  • NetApp's Cloud First Partners will be added to the Unified Partner Program and have access to the program's benefits. Cloud First Partners are firms with expertise in migrating and managing customer workloads in public cloud environments with NetApp Cloud Data Services. Prior to the updates, Cloud First Partners engaged NetApp through a standalone program.
  • The NetApp Learning Services training program will be expanded for cloud partners and service providers.
  • NetApp specializations will feature new content and benefits and include SAP and everything-as-a-service specializations.

Lamborn noted the company is integrating partner programs from its 2020 acquisitions of Spot, CloudJumper and Talon Storage with its own. That process will continue into next year, he said.

Growth by acquisition

NetApp has made multiple acquisitions in 2020, including the following:

  • In June, NetApp announced it would purchase Spot, a public cloud compute management and cost optimization supplier.
  • In April, the company acquired CloudJumper, a virtual desktop infrastructure vendor.
  • In March, NetApp bought Talon Storage, a software-defined storage vendor.

A partner-focused vendor

NetApp partners play a critical role in the company's sales, contributing about 80% of its revenue, Lamborn said.

Partners range in size, focus and expertise, and they include large consulting firms such as Accenture and systems integrators such as World Wide Technology, CDW and Insight. "We are seeing an increase in the number of new partners who are focused solely on the cloud," Lamborn noted.

NetApp has about 3,500 partners globally, a number that has been consistent for the last six to seven years. Lamborn said he does not expect this number to change. The vendor expects to gain some partners from recent acquisitions but also anticipates consolidation in the channel as partners and vendors alike expand further into cloud offerings.

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