Sun shines on channel investment

Sun shines on channel investment

More interactive partners tools and rewards touted for 2008

Sun Microsystems is ramping up investment into channel development and will roll out new partners tools in an effort strengthen its indirect relationships.

Partner sales director, Sam Srinivasan, said the forthcoming initiatives were about giving partners more transparency with Sun. The channel investment is also being driven by the vendor's growing portfolio of x86 and storage volume products.

"We're investing in volume growth and looking at areas and ways we can expand that business," he said. "It's different to our traditional approach - and the channel is slightly different as well."

As a result, Sun needed to invest in an internal team which could understand and articulate the volume message around things like supply chain and inventory, Srinivasan said.

This year also signalled the next stage in the ongoing development of Sun's Partner Advantage Program (SPAR), which launched locally in July last year. In November, Sun hosted a training boot camp for 300 partners to help get people accredited. Focus would be put on its mid-tier training this year, Srinivasan said.

"We've done this to get the enablement piece into play," he said.

The focus for 2008 was on better interaction between Sun and its partner community, Srinivasan said. As an example, he pointed to the vendor's Share Space forum for software integrators which allows different partners to communicate with each other as well as discuss issues or offer feedback directly to the vendor's development and product teams.

Srinivasan said the company wanted to expand this forum out to its systems and storage integrator community.

"We're in the process of selecting partners to work with initially with the intention of expanding this forum to more of our channel down the line," he said.

In March, Sun will also launch a program membership engine giving partners online access to their certification progress, partner entitlements and market segmentation.

Once the automated program system was integrated with Sun's ERP back-end, partners would have full transparency of their transactions records and customer history, Srinivasan said.

This would be complemented by a simplified quote-to-order process next month, he said.

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