Partner manager, David Tse, says the programme was in need of a facelift after more than 20 years.
“IForce was a very hardware-centric programme. What we are focusing on now is a simplification of the global programme, because the role of business has changed a lot. Sun’s commitment in the software and services space needed to be taken into account. So SPA was born to let partners focus on segments of the market, rather than the entire suite Sun has to offer.”
The new programme is divided into four groups: systems, storage, software and services. Systems will cover the traditional Sun products and the x64 space, Sparc and servers. Software will cover the Solaris suite and other products, while storage covers anything around storage including the Storagetek products it acquired in 2005.
“The programme will allow our partners to specialise in certain areas, get people more focused with Sun and create a level where all partners are treated as equals. We wanted to focus the different skill sets of our partners and grow our footprint at the same time,” says Tse. “The programme is also driven by the new technologies and acquisitions made by Sun.”
SPA will consist of three tiers, made up of associate, principal and executive levels. Associate partners will require one entry-level platform, principal partners four entry-level with one mid-level platform and executive partners require seven platform accreditations with at least one being high-level.
“There are a lot of rewards for partners in this programme, such as marketing funds, that will relate to the individual partner’s activity with Sun and tiered revenue targets,” Tse says. “The new programme was introduced because Sun has more depth now. iForce was one size fits all, SPA is more customised to our partners’ different needs.”
The introduction of the programme will see a focus on systems, storage and software, with services being added in the fourth quarter 2007.
Tse says the structure will also help partners become more competitive in the market, and stresses Sun will keep the focus on a partner-centric model.
“When the going gets tough, vendors that do not have a partner-centric model tend to go direct. We have seen this a few times, but Sun will keep its focus on its partners and avoid direct sales.”