In addition to industry trends, I also try to keep a pulse on channel partners, especially when it comes to what their needs and requirements are from a good vendor. We are constantly re-tuning and improving our partner program to be the best partner out there.
Having just gone ‘round the U.S. on a couple of channel advisory boards and councils to collect feedback and input from our partners on how we are doing, I am happy to report that we are still on the right track. This is what I heard loud and clear from partners, “Delivery on promise breeds respect” and respect is clearly what we get from partners worldwide for our delivery on the APN program – but you don’t have to take my word for it. Take a look at this recent article that appeared in SearchITChannel.com, where partners share their perspectives.
One of the consistent themes on all of these partner discussions is the need for partner to be able to deliver professional services and support to their customers. Several reasons for that are:
It gets harder and harder to run your business on product margins and almost all of our partners have changed business models to more software and service portions
Many other vendors – the bad guys – have actually started to dip into those partner revenues and have started to claim back some of the services revenues
Convergence, Cloud and Virtualization are driving the need for business partners to leverage solutions- and services-led selling – partners have to beef up on skill sets and delivery capabilities to stay competitive
To address all of the above, we have just massively revamped and boosted both our Professional Services Partner (PSP) and Support Delivery Partner (SDP) programs. We are focusing on pay-for-performance metrics to drive higher levels of skills and profitability for channel partners. At the same time, we have put a stake in the ground that Brocade has a strong channel-centric approach to service and support revenues and wants its partners to build-out their revenue streams, while at the same time becoming Brocade architecture experts to help us architect for the future. It’s really quid pro quo at its best. To hear more about the benefits of the updated programs, check out this video.
Business partners are on the frontlines everyday and happenings in channel can often times reflect the dynamics taking place within the industry as a whole. I’ll continue to listen if you promise to tell me what’s on your mind – feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.