Brocade today announced the introduction of several new channel initiatives designed specifically to enhance partner enablement and profitability. The new initiatives encompass a wide range of updates to the Brocade Alliance Partner Network (APN) program, including elements tailored to attract new partners who are looking for a compelling vendor alternative, as well as new aspects to better reward existing APN partners.
The APN program updates represent Brocade’s ongoing commitment to the channel in helping partners establish and maintain viable business models to continue driving success. As the channel remains an area of strategic focus for Brocade, the company has invested significant monetary resources – approximately three times the historical annual spend – to implement and support the APN program. Specifically, Brocade announced today:
Enablement funding for new partners to accelerate engagement with Brocade.
Expansion of the reseller Value Incentive Program (VIP).
Updated deal registration discounts to further protect presales investments.
Enhanced enablement tools.
Renewed focus on lead and demand generation activities.
The continual maturation of cloud technologies, coupled with end customers’ growing interest in integrating virtualization and cloud solutions into their IT environments, represents a tremendous opportunity for channel partners. End customers are increasingly looking to the channel for guidance and technical expertise to help them successfully navigate the journey to the cloud.
For distributor and reseller partners, who by virtue of their position within the channel ecosystem are best equipped to deliver these value-added solutions and services, this industry trend presents both a world of possibilities and increased pressure to adapt and refine their business objectives. Brocade continually evolves its APN program to help partners maintain a profitable business model and attain higher levels of in-house expertise at minimal monetary cost.
“Data center infrastructure vendors clearly recognize the vital role that the channel plays during any period of major IT transformation, and the transition to the cloud is no exception,” said Chris Ilg, director of Market Research, Infrastructure Channels and Alliances at IDC. “IDC estimates that worldwide spending on private IT cloud services will top $13 billion by the end of 2011, and shrewd vendors are those who are adapting and augmenting their programs with inventive elements that bring value to a wide range of partners.”
Recognizing the inherent capabilities of its partner base and the key attributes of the markets they serve, Brocade designed its APN program updates with built-in flexibility, enabling greater numbers of partners to gain value from the program. In particular, Brocade has introduced the following new partner initiatives:
Enablement Funding for New Partners
To attract and invigorate new partners, Brocade is committed to providing new APN partners with enablement funding to help streamline and accelerate their engagement with Brocade. These funds can be used for a multitude of activities, including demand generation and marketing activities, technical and sales training and the development of lab environments. Enablement funding is granted based on the alignment of a joint business plan between Brocade and participating partners.
Expansion of Value Incentive Program (VIP)
With an emphasis on partner profitability through growing skill sets and expertise, Brocade continues to expand its VIP with these core tenets in mind. As part of this approach, Brocade has added the Service Provider Specialization to its growing roster of technology-centric designations. Designed to help partners address the growing demand for skilled networking expertise within the service provider space, the Service Provider Specialization encompasses the technical and practical training necessary to help partners become trusted IT advisors to their end customers. Additionally, APN Elite resellers can now leverage the benefits of a revised cumulative discount structure that offers payout at a lower threshold, enabling them to realize greater levels of profitability.
Updated Deal Registration Discounts
In an effort to further protect partners’ presales investments and help realize greater levels of profitability, the Brocade deal registration program now provides a higher discount level for all IP product sales. In addition, Brocade adapter products have been integrated into the SAN Deal Registration program, supporting partners that focus on building converged network architectures.
Enhanced Enablement Tools
Recognizing that partners will require a variety of resources throughout their engagement with Brocade, the company has rolled out new tools designed to help partners sell Brocade solutions. For new partners, Brocade has introduced an easy-to-use Onboarding Portal, which provides partners with the tools and information they need to initiate their partnership efforts with Brocade. All information contained within the portal is tailored to the needs of new partners and is intended to accelerate their integration into the APN program.
In addition, Brocade has instituted updates with respect to its demo equipment program. Specifically, Brocade has significantly increased the discount on its demo equipment while simultaneously revising guidelines governing the use of marketing development funds (MDF), enabling partners to apply these funds to cover any qualifying expenses for demo equipment. Under the new APN demo discount schedule, this change enables partners to acquire demo gear at little to no cost.
Renewed Focus on Lead and Demand Generation Activities
Brocade has updated its lead and demand generation management processes to provide partners with wider access to qualified leads that increase sales success and shorten the sales cycle. To accomplish this, Brocade has fine-tuned its demand generation processes to identify qualified leads and efficiently funnel them to APN partners. In addition, inside sales and telesales resources have been repurposed to focus their efforts on lead generation for the channel. The delivery of qualified leads will enable partners to focus their resources on the sales process, thereby reducing time spent on the customer discovery phase.
“The cloud era has forced the channel to undergo a major transformation, which is both a source of opportunity and consternation for resellers and distributors,” said Barbara Spicek, vice president of Global Channels at Brocade. “As part of Brocade’s long-term commitment and overall company strategy of leveraging the strength of the channel, these new initiatives further enable partners to grow their skill sets, differentiate themselves and adapt with agility to changing market dynamics.”