NetApp kicks off partner business planning

NetApp kicks off partner business planning

Vendor investment in reseller strategies around storage sales

Network Appliance has launched a scheme aimed at assisting resellers to develop an effective strategy for boosting revenue and build better, stronger business around its storage offering.

Partner and public sector sales director, Scott Morris, said it was working with channel partners to develop individual business plans as part of a Partner Business Planning scheme that kicked off in the first week of February.

The $40,000 scheme kicks off with whole-day meetings held individually with all five Australia-based Platinum Partners to nut out specific goals and strategies for each relationship.

NetApp would follow up and review progress with each partner monthly and quarterly to ensure objectives were reached, Morris said.

"We want to avoid the tendency to follow a process and not actually get value out of doing an actual physical business plan," he said. "Anybody can fill in the blanks in an Excel spreadsheet."

Each partner's progress will be reviewed after 12 months. While revenue quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year were important, they wouldl not be the only factors considered in the annual review, Morris said.

NetApp has flagged 2008 as the year to ramp up its channel. Morris said the vendor was also intensifying and broadening its training program for partners this year, introducing new specialisations.Virtualisation, backup and business continuity would be early cabs off the rank in a "whole bunch" of new specialisations, he said.

"We're launching additional courses and a higher level of certification. And alongside our Shared Storage Framework, we're developing a lot of content in Australia and that will soon become a business unit in its own right," Morris said.

Compliance, security and datacentre transformation are heating up this year and NetApp wanted to ensure its resellers were best prepared for the challenge, Morris said.

NetApp national systems engineer, Michael DeLandre, highlighted major changes in datacentre infrastructure and design driven partly by increasing pressures on power and cooling.

"There's a big push around green storage, saving power and space," he said. "And lot of customers are out there consolidating their servers using VMware and that has significant implications for storage."

NetApp has launched products it believes are tailor-made to tackle the changes. SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure helps back up and resource virtualised datacentres. Provisioning Manager is about simplifying datacentre operations by improving storage provisioning, DeLandre said.

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