StorageTek launches new partner program

StorageTek has taken the wraps off its Total Channel Program, promising resellers greater access to sales incentives, marketing support and training.

The vendor's channels manager, Sam Srinivasan, said the new program would see partners divided into three tiers: alliance, premier and the new premier plus level, launched by the vendor internationally this month. All registered resellers would be entitled to a rebate of up to 3 per cent on sales, depending on the partner tier, as well as marketing information and tools, he said.

Entry-level alliance resellers have a minimum revenue target of $500,000 annually, while premier plus partners need to hit $3 million in revenue each year.

Unlike its previous partner initiatives however, products manufactured by StorageTek's OEM partners would now be included in the target figure, Srinivasan said. These include products and services from Sun, Unisys, NCR and SGI.

"We will provide these partners with the same level of support either way," he said. "This is a huge change from the way we did programs in the past, where we only focused on StorageTek products."

While all existing resellers will be divided into the new levels, Srinivasan said it would be recruiting new channel partners for its premier plus category.

"Of our existing partner group, there is no one that fits this strategy," he said.

StorageTek is now in discussions with several local tier one integrators to fulfill the premier plus level, with plans to announce two partners shortly.

Srinivasan said it expected to have no more than three players locally.

Potential partners could include CSC, Alphawest, Kaz and Dimension Data, he said.

For existing partners, the new channel program would be more about gaining access to marketing support and training, rather than an overhaul of sales targets, Srinivasan said.

StorageTek commenced its level one partner training course in Australia and New Zealand this month.

"Most of our partners had agreements, but some of the program elements were not available to them," he said.

"During the year we will conduct business reviews and planning exercises with all partners to help them grow their business. If their performance does not fit with the tier we have established them in, we will be putting initiatives in place to fix these issues. If they can't do the numbers, we can pull them back."

StorageTek now has about 15 resellers on its books. Despite the new program, Srinivasan said it did not expect to significantly increase its partner base.

"We are not looking for more than five or 10 companies at the moment," he said. "We don't want to dilute our efforts or ourselves by not being able to provide the necessary training for partners."

The vendor would also continue to utilise its current distributors, ACA Pacific and Datastor, in favour of recruiting new suppliers, he said. However, he did not rule out reviewing its distribution model as customer demand increase.

Srinivasan said it hoped the new program would see channel sales increase by 20 to 30 per cent this year.

To coincide with its focus on stronger ties between StorageTek and its OEM partners, Srinivasan said it would also be launching joint programs for both customers and the channel.

For example, it was now working on initiatives to increase communication between StorageTek and Sun's tier partner base, he said.

"We now have a joint bid in with Sun as a key partner in a large account locally," he said. "This is where we help OEMs leverage existing partner relations. We're getting more joint strategies together to go to market so we're not working in isolation any longer."