Storage Software Vendor WekaIO Launches First-Ever Partner Program
For the first time since starting its business in 2016, storage software vendor WekaIO has created and launched a global channel partner program that aims to provide co-marketing, training and technical resources to help partners sell and service the company’s storage technologies.
The new channel program, called the WekaIO Global Innovation Network (WIN), is designed to help partners become more connected to WekaIO’s high-speed file storage products so they can better use them to help their customers and grow their revenue.
Charla Bunton-Johnson, WekaIO’s global director of partner and field marketing, told Channel Futures that the company’s first-ever partner program is launching at just the right time.
“We really needed to build infrastructure and a landing strip for partners,” said Bunton-Johnson. “There are some partners who know about artificial intelligence and machine learning but others need help and training” to get up to speed in advanced data storage technologies.
“We want to train and enable them to be successful in selling AI and to know where the nuggets are out there” that can be mined for sales, she said. “It’s table stakes.”
The idea to create the new program came from WekaIO executives who felt it was to time to more formally work with partners to drive its business plans, said Bunton-Johnson.
“We did this from an executive and board level,” she said. “We needed the partner program to start the engagement, to show partners the value of the product and how it is unique versus the competition out there.”
Using AI, ML and storage software together is complex and partners often need technical assistance in finding ways to help their customers with the technology, she said.
“We needed to be able to train partners on how to sell it as well,” said Bunton-Johnson.
Initially, the partner program will include co-marketing support with dedicated resources to work with partners on joint marketing events to promote software-defined storage products, marketing development funds for demand generation activities and field events, and deep technical support from WekaIO’s technical support team. Also offered as part of WIN is a new online partner portal that includes sales tools, training, turnkey campaigns, deal registration and more features to help partners.
The WIN program has four partner membership tiers – innovator, leader, accelerator and catalyst – which are designed to create an environment where partners can further grow their AI and ML practices and competencies. Moving up through each tier unlocks additional benefits, including partner portal access and sales training, co-branded campaigns, a dedicated account manager and engineering solutions testing.
The company’s Weka File System (WekaFS) provides a software storage infrastructure that accelerates demanding data-center workloads as part of a partner ecosystem that also offers validated and trusted applications that work together to solve customer data challenges.
WekaIO provides its software-defined storage on a subscription-based services model, which provides partners with recurring revenue, said Bunton-Johnson.
The partner program also looks to develop competencies for partners so they can be trained and certified in providing specific levels of service for AI and ML to customers, she said. Under that model, partners would be trained in various AI and ML curricula and then could be highlighted as having that experience for customers that need such expertise, she said.
“This allows partners to dip their toes into these new markets that they probably would not have done before,” said Bunton-Johnson. “And they’ll be able to engage with other partners, with access to a vibrant partner ecosystem. It’s really a win-win.”
Kevin Rhone, a storage analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, said WekaIO’s nascent partner program will help differentiate the company from competitors and adds valuable recurring revenue opportunities for its partners.
“The online portal is valuable to connect resellers with the rest of the ecosystem partners to deliver a complete solution,” said Rhone.
And for new partners, providing technical support services shortens the on-ramp to sell and service the products and gives them opportunities to deliver unique integration services for their customers, he added.
“Co-marketing support with predefined campaigns and tools is huge for partners that lack lead generation skills,” he said. “It is a great program start for WekaIO to leverage its innovative technology and motivate and reward its channel partners to invest along with them.”