In what it calls a “pure, bottom-line investment”, NetApp is spending around $2 million on expanding its partner enablement team across Australia and New Zealand.
According to A/NZ channel manager Scott Morris, the storage vendor is adding more people to drive value, lead generation and sales opportunities for partners. “This is a pure bottom-line investment focussed on partner development and enablement.”
Although NetApp disestablished its New Zealand country manager position, held by Garry Collings, last August, Morris says it is now focused on having local staff that support the channel as opposed to performing operational tasks.
The company has appointed Peter Woolston from Dell as its new presales engineer based in Auckland and James Kennedy-Moffat from Vodafone as Wellington business development manager. It now has four local staff, says Morris.
“We have added to the team consistently and will continue to do so as the business grows. We now have a good solid footprint of business development and technical support.”
In addition NetApp is expanding its Australian-based A/NZ team partner enablement team to include two technical partner advisors and two full-time trainers, who will run courses for partners on professional services development. It is also adding a partner development manager responsible for new partner recruitment and enablement.
“They are responsible for finding new partnerships where we are not touching a particular market segment. We want to invest in partnerships to make sure our business develops together,” says Morris.
The company is also revising its VIP partner programme to improve partner recruitment, enablement and discount structures. “We have varied from the Asia Pacific and worldwide programme as we are in a different stage in our growth cycle here. We have made it more generous.”
The programme has been expanded to include three tiers – platinum, gold and the new silver level. “It hinges around having the right level of partners,” says Morris.
Silver level partners will be supported by recently appointed distributor Value Added Distributors and will provide NetApp with a broader channel base for its StoreVault product range for SMEs, says Morris. “We did not have a way to market for it in New Zealand before. It gives SMEs access to the core NetApp functionality, without the cost of an enterprise system.”
The VIP partner programme is designed to reward partners who up-skill and invest in the NetApp technology, says Morris.
The silver tier will require partners to have both a NetApp certified technician and salesperson, but the required training is offered free of charge, adds Morris. “There is no entry price to becoming a silver partner.”
As the company builds its partner base, it will focus more on end-user lead generation with the aim to increase opportunities for resellers, says Morris. “This is an opportunity to focus our sales and technical resources on creating value for partners, by knocking down doors and generating business for them.”