Here's what vendors are doing for partners amid the pandemic

A wrap-up of all the significant partner program changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 has affected the business operations of partners around the world, but many vendors are stepping in to ease the disruption by making changes to their partner programs. Here’s a list of all the changes seen so far this year.

Here’s what Palo Alto Networks is doing for partners amid the pandemic

Cyber security solutions provider Palo Alto Networks has joined the growing ranks of tech vendors working to introduce initiatives aimed at helping partners weather the disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic. 

Among the actions taken by the vendor is an initiative to help partners extend certifications to ensure they stay current to current technology advancements, despite the disruptions in the industry.

Specifically, if an individual has a technical certification with an expiration date between 1 March 2020, and 31 July 2020, Palo Alto Networks will automatically extend the certification expiration dates by six months. 

The company has also moved to create so-called virtual labs, aimed at giving partners the ability to show customers real attack scenarios while working remotely.

More details can be found here

HPE rethinks partner pandemic aid in A/NZ

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has previously announced a number of assistance relief to partners and distributors to combat the cash flow crises faced by many partners, but the majority of these excluded the Asia Pacific market.

However, the vendor appears to have had a rethink and now will offer more financial support locally, including an early settlement Incentive to distributors and so-called ‘corporate’ resellers.

In addition, its US$2 billion global stimulus package, the HPE Financial Services (HPEFS), will now offer A/NZ partners payment relief program, following them to defer 90 per cent of their costs until 2021.

More details can be found here.

Acronis discounts licence fees in partner program refresh

 Cyber security vendor Acronis has become the latest vendor to offer financial relief to partners amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Singapore-founded vendor is offering its Acronis Cyber Files Cloud for free to partners in Asia Pacific, alongside increased marketing funds and resources.

These include helping partners set up and join virtual events using its platforms, while “enriching” its campaigns-in-a-box.

Acronis has also enhanced its Partner Portal, in an effort to ease access to sales guides, licensing guides, case studies and learning academy. 

More details can be found here

HPE rolls out partner pandemic relief — but A/NZ excluded from lion’s share 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has unveiled new financial relief measures to help partners cope with the coronavirus crisis, but appears to have excluded Asia Pacific from the majority of these.

The vendor said it will suspend revenue thresholds for HPE Partner Ready Program and the Aruba Partner Ready for Networking Program in Australia and New Zealand.

However, other measures such as extending payment terms from 60 to 90 days for those in certain factoring programs will only be open to North American and European partners.

More details can be found here.

UPDATE - 30/4/2020 - HPE has had a change of heart about offering certain COVID-19 financial relief to the  Australia and New Zealand channel. More details can be found here.

Nutanix offers COVID-19 financial aid to partners

Nutanix has revealed a new financial program aimed at supporting its partners throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

Referred to as the Nutanix Special Financial Assistance Program (NSFAP), participating partners will be allowed extended payment terms as well as other relief options. 

Specifically, authorised reseller partners will gain extended payment terms, which they are expected to pass onto their customers.

More details can be found here.

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Cisco commits $2.5B in “business resiliency” financing for partners 

Cisco has rolled out a new round of support incentives to help partners and customers overcome rising COVID-19 challenges, with US$2.5 billion in financing at the centrepiece.

Delivered through Cisco Capital - the vendor’s financial division - the new Business Resiliency program is designed to mitigate cash flow concerns in the channel through “payment holiday” schemes and customer deferral options.

Cisco Refresh has also been launched to provide partner access to the vendor's certified remanufactured product portfolio, which houses a wider range of discounted products and solutions through a pre-owned suite of offerings. 

Cisco is also assisting partners through free Webex and Security offers enabling them to stay securely connected and productive during this time.

 More details can be found here.

Microsoft rolls out new tools and updates as partners tackle pandemic disruption

Microsoft is continuing to roll out a host of new tools and partner program updates as partners navigate their way through the tumultuous business climate brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

New tools on offer include an enhanced Partner Centre, which provides a single place for partners to connect with other partners, Microsoft and customers. In addition, there is further on-demand support and evolved co-selling programs that mean partners can accept and share referrals from Microsoft (first party solutions) and other partners (third party solutions). 

The vendor is also increasing access to training, support and go-to-market services, along with new competencies on the line, advanced specialisations and the company's Expert Program. 

Additionally, Microsoft has indicated it will put an increased focus on rewarding customer results and achieving positive outcomes rather than relying on a model that is purely based on financial metrics.

More details can be found here.

HPE pledges $2B in customer financing as COVID-19 impacts cash flow

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has designated more than US$2 billion in financing to help customers overcome cash flow and liquidity challenges related to Covid-19, forming part of a global stimulus package.

Delivered through the vendor’s financial services division - HPE Financial Services - the Payment Relief Program is designed to help customers acquire new technology while alleviating financial strain, through deferred payment plans and buy-back initiatives.

Specifically, the multibillion-dollar pledge in financing will be applied to ensure the continuity of business operations at customer level, in addition to “converting IT infrastructure into new sources of capital,”  according to Antonio Neri, president and CEO of HPE.

Customers can also acquire new technology and pay one per cent of the total contract value each month for the first eight months, deferring over 90 per cent of the cost until 2021. 

More details can be found here.

With no COVID-19 end in sight, Microsoft adjusts partner programs

Microsoft has rolled out a fresh round of program adjustments to help partners mitigate ongoing challenges related to COVID-19, following widespread ecosystem feedback.

The changes centre around increasing incentives and issuing competency extensions across specific product portfolios such as Teams and Azure, alongside postponing Microsoft Partner Agreement implementation plans. This is in addition to ramping up online training and certifications, backed by improved access to digital marketing resources.

More details can be found here.

HP tackles pandemic conditions with new partner and customer relief initiatives

HP will offer short-term, market and country-specific incentives for partners in a bid to help businesses in the channel navigate rocky market conditions resulting from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The initiatives, which span global commercial and retail channel partners across personal systems and print, will vary by geography and are dependent on partner eligibility.

The actions taken by HP include the provision of a variety of financing and leasing options for end customers. Specifically, in partnership with its finance partners, HP’s Integrated Financial Solutions group is now offering a variety of financial and asset lifecycle options, including deferred or reduced payments until 2021.

More details can be found here.

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IBM extends channel support amid COVID-19 pandemic

IBM has extended channel support offerings in a move designed to help partners overcome rising challenges related to COVID-19.

Through IBM Global Financing, Big Blue has rolled out flexible financing options to help customers accelerate adoption of business continuity, collaboration and digital customer service technologies. The aim is to help partners invest while managing cash flow and flexibility.

“The global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 has impacted nearly every corner of the world and disrupted daily life,” said David La Rose, general manager of Partner Ecosystem at IBM. “Every day is filled with more changes of how we are to live and work. Even though our daily routines are disrupted, this is not an obstacle that we can’t overcome.

“Our commitment to business partners remains constant. We know that you are facing unprecedented challenges - and we will continue to play a big role in supporting your on-going needs. We are keeping our partners first, foremost and prioritised.”

Also available to the channel is the vendor’s digital platform resources, spanning marketing materials, sales enablement and increased collaboration opportunities with Red Hat.

More details can be found here.