NetApp has appointed its first director of partner and public sector sales manager as part of efforts to improve channel relations.
Scott Morris has spent the past three years as the storage vendor's northern (NSW, ACT and Queensland) region sales manager. He will now be responsible for aligning its partner and public sector sales nationally.
"Two-and-a-half-years ago, the biggest risk for NetApp was that we were highly reliant on a small number of corporate accounts and our biggest focus was directly managing accounts," Morris said. "About 95-98 per cent of our business was direct. We've got this to one-third channel today.
"What we're now seeing is differing channel businesses in the northern and southern regions: We might have strong relationships with certain partners in one area, but have a weak relationship with them in the other. We didn't have a strong execution model across A/NZ."
NetApp's local indirect business is also still below its global average of 55 per cent.
"Our Australian and New Zealand business is a big anomaly worldwide," Morris said. "We want to leverage partner with our more ingrained sales force."
To reach this target, NetApp would be broadening its channel focus from tier one and two systems integrators to smaller integrators, ISVs and the broader reseller community.
"What I want to do in the enterprise space is align partners with the right capabilities to wrap services around these accounts," Morris said. "It's about leveraging those relationships more broadly.
"When you look at the broader customer requirements, storage isn't the problem, it's a facilitator. It's the things like exchange and services which make a solution stick together. Part of my job is to get account managers to understand the broader impact of channel in this."
NetApp's strongest customer segment has traditionally been banking and finance. Morris said it had also started seeing strong vertical areas of opportunities emerge, and had hired a dedicated BDM to focus on channel opportunities in healthcare and education.
Prior to joining NetApp, Morris headed up Dell's large corporate sales. He also has extensive channel sales experience through roles at Compaq and Silicon Graphics, and has worked with several distributors.