NetApp Reveals New Partner Sphere Program Details Ahead of Launch

NetApp offers a glimpse into what partners can expect from its new slimmed down partner program.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

June 8, 2023

3 Min Read
New details about NetApp Partner Sphere
Natasa Adzic/Shutterstock

NetApp has provided a glimpse into what partners can expect from its new partner program, Partner Sphere, before it goes live.

Partner Sphere is set launch this summer, said Sonya Mathieu, NetApp UK&I channel lead. Mathieu said the program is the brainchild of NetApp global partner leader, Jenni Flinders. While Mathieu said she can’t share too much, she revealed Partner Sphere will go “deeper with fewer partners.”

The program will offer “a really simple framework” with a three tier partner structure: approved, preferred and prestige. This is slimmed down from the current “five or six” levels.

Partner Sphere will also focus on transformative training, added Mathieu.


NetApp’s Sonya Mathieu

“[We’re] really making sure that we’re supporting partners on their differentiations and the competencies that they want to focus on. You’ll see a lot more of that, as opposed to us telling them where we need them to be. We have the opportunity to figure out what they want to focus on and then adapt to that. I think that’s a big game changer. And that’s been well received so far.”

Diverse Partner Ecosystem

Mathieu said Partner Sphere will aim to meet partners “wherever they are in their journey.” The vendor has said it wants to better reflect its increasingly diverse partner base.

“We’ve got some born-in-the-cloud partners; we have some of our more traditional partners,” said Mathieu. “So how do we make sure that we’re partnering and using their unique capabilities when we’re putting these programs together? We’ve grown so much from a cloud perspective as well, which is a completely different motion for a lot of partners. So how do we take those partners on this journey with us when it doesn’t look exactly like what the traditional model has been? A lot of thought has been put into that.”

New Distribution Program

There is also a new NetApp distribution program coming out in the second half of the year. There are no details available as yet, but Mathieu stressed the importance of distributors to NetApp’s commercial business.

“We’re working very closely with them to make sure we’ve designed something that will allow them to really lean into that part of our business,” she said.

Mathieu highlighted the importance of the partner ecosystem, calling 2023 ““the year of the channel.”

“Organizations, customers, everyone is looking at the partner ecosystem as critical to their business,” she said. “The perception was years ago that it was going to go the other direction with the hyperscalers. It’s actually done the opposite. I think it’s really strengthened the value that our partnerships bring to customers and to vendors, like us. I’m really excited. I think there’s lots to do but I think our partners are well positioned.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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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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