iForce becomes an Advantage for partners

iForce becomes an Advantage for partners

Sun is overhauling its global iForce partner program in an attempt to rejuvenate interest in its product line-up.

In the first phase of the revamp, the vendor will deliver a formal program for its ISV community. This will be followed by the launch of new initiatives for systems integrators and service providers over the next nine months.

The vendor has also replaced the stalwart iForce channel program with the Sun Partner Advantage Program.

Local sales director, Michael May, said the initiative had been driven by a need to provide better support and services to its partner community. Previously, he admitted the company had taken a piecemeal approach.

"For the past couple of years we have not had as big a focus on this as we would like," May said. "We want to get them focused on Solaris and Java and bring them back into the Sun family."

Under the new plan, Sun would provide ISVs with added technology benefits, as well as assist with go-to market strategies and interactive webcasts with engineers, he said. It would also look to match systems providers looking for software solutions with ISVs within its own ranks.

"We are trying to strengthen our relationships with ISVs by committing to working with them to build solutions and improving their ability to sell to the market," May said. "We will also provide them with development expectations on what we are trying to achieve."

He said the drive would focus on assisting tier one global partners, such as SAP and Oracle, as well as regional developers addressing verticals like finance, telecommunications, education and government.

New partners would also be welcomed, May said, citing opportunities for growth in categories including health, retail and security.

The program comes after the recent launch of Sun's technology initiative for ISVs - 10 Moves Ahead. May said the scheme centred on providing assistance for ISVs porting to the Solaris 10 platform. Other offerings ranged from a 70 per cent discount on hardware bundles for development, to online forums, engineering libraries and technology assessment facilities.

Sun was planning to follow up the ISV component of the program with new partner plans for its systems integration and service provider partners in the first quarter of 2006, May said.

He refused to disclose further details about the upcoming programs.

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