Brocade Updates Alliance Partner Network Program for Channel
Brocade’s channel partner program has received its annual program overhaul, with Brocade adding a slew of enhancements designed to further reward its existing partners and entice new partners to the networking vendor.
The Brocade Alliance Partner Network has received a number of upgrades that are based mostly on channel partner feedback, said Barbara Spicek, vice president of Global Channels.
“This is the first major iteration of the program, and the changes are in line with our overall philosophy of return on partnership with our Alliance partners,” she said. “We keep tweaking the program based on partner comments to ensure it is attractive and profitable for our customers to work with us.”
The changes focus mainly on increasing benefits and reaching out to potential new partners, especially those working in the Ethernet and campus network spaces. While Brocade is well-established in the data center networking space, Spicek noted it is in full recruitment mode for partners who can offer its Ethernet product and recently expanded campus networking portfolios.
Included in the changes are:
- Enablement funds for potential partners: Brocade is making an upfront investment in new APN partners to enable them to get up to speed with Brocade. The funds can be used for anything from demand generation and marketing to technical and sales training. These funds are different from Marketing Development Funds, which are tied to revenue produced. “We are trying to take the leap of faith and do a pre-investment based on business plans to sign up new partners and help drive business,” Spicek said.
- Expansion of the Value Incentive Program (VIP): VIP was created to help partners develop expertise and specialize in certain verticals or technology focuses, and Brocade is adding the Service Provider Specialization to VIP’s roster. “This goes to partners that have focused on Tier 3 and 4 service providers, and the specialization is around the skill set required there,” she said.
- Additional deal registration discounts: Brocade is increasing the discount it provides by two points, which translates to a 15 percent to 20 percent savings for partners, Spicek said. “We want to get our partners self-selling as much as possible and drive the end-user negotiation,” and the additional discounts, Brocade believes, will help enable that.
- New partner onboarding portal: Designed with Brocade’s newest partners in mind, the new onboarding portal contains tools and information partners need to initiate their relationship with Brocade and accelerate their integration into the APN program, Spicek said.
- Changes to lead generation, demand generation: Brocade is renewing its focus on providing its partners with qualified leads and helping them identify opportunities, and the updates to its lead and demand generation efforts will provide Elite and Premier partners with wider access to qualified leads by using Brocade’s inside sales and telesales groups, and distributing them through partner tools.
The changes, Spicek said, reflect a commitment by Brocade to make sure it has the most attractive partner program possible and to ensure its partners are ready for the next wave in networking and computing technologies.
“In speaking with our partners, one big theme that has emerged is the challenge they face as new technologies develop — cloud convergence and virtualization are two examples — and the discussion around the value of the channel. I think partners have a great opportunity in the cloud because of their proximity, technology advantage and skill set, and also as technology emerges. We want to make sure our partners have access to the right tools and develop the right skill sets to be successful.”