NetApp Accuses Rivals of Squeezing Partners

NetApp targets rivals’ customers and partners in an aggressive acquisition campaign.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

September 16, 2020

2 Min Read
Squeeze a Lemon

NetApp is targeting the competition, notably Dell, with an aggressive customer and partner acquisition campaign.

The vendor believes its portfolio – bolstered by a series of recent acquisitions – now provides a focus on the cloud, which its rivals lack.

Kristian Kerr is vice president of NetApp’s partner organization in EMEA. He says the acquisitions and cloud focus are attracting  partners “that have traditionally been more aligned to our competition.”


NetApp’s Kristian Kerr

“There are partners, especially in the UK, that have been closely allied with other vendors,” said Kerr. “But some of the competition don’t have a strong clear path to the cloud. We have a much stronger leadership position in hybrid cloud, and relationships with public cloud providers.”

Specifically, NetApp has Dell Technologies in its sights. NetApp has previously suggested that Dell’s midrange portfolio refresh in May underwhelmed customers and partners. It now says this acquisition campaign helps stranded Dell customers get to a hybrid cloud operating model.

“It’s much more a hands-on, surgical, targeted approach, said Kerr. “Identifying some partners that I feel, quite frankly, are getting squeezed by a couple of the large vendors. You [have] partners focused on cloud, storage, data management. They’re not interested in selling PCs and laptops and servers and everything else. They feel that they’re getting squeezed by some of these other vendors.”

As part of the acquisition campaign, NetApp has a fast track programme to onboard competitive partners. It has also launched a series of assets and prepackaged materials targeting its rivals.

Kerr stressed the firm wants partners and customers to know it as more than a data storage company. All brand messaging now focuses on NetApp “unlocking the best of cloud.”

“We’ve got a clear approach of what we want to do; we want to be the leader in hybrid cloud. We’ve got the most comprehensive cloud strategy, cloud- and friendly partner programme,” he said.

“We have opportunity now where we are gaining interest and onboarding new partners. Now we just want to accelerate that, plus take some competitive share as well.”

Updates to Partner Program

In July, NetApp announced several updates to its Unified Partner Program. It said it was unifying all contracts and agreements, streamlining guides and policies. It also said it was to offer fewer, more focused, deal-based incentive programs and growth attainment rebate programs.

NetApp also promised to provide registered partners with access to more information, communications, enablement and training. This includes bringing Cloud First partners into the program and expanding training programs for cloud partners and service providers.

However, last month NetApp announced several hundred job losses as the company “realigned resources and investments.”

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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