Vendors announce significant changes to channel programs
Simplicity is in the air around the channel, as evidenced this week by Dell Technologies and NetApp making significant changes to their partner programs that aim to reduce complexity and open more opportunities to their respective solution providers.
The Lowdown: The two companies independently responded to partner requests to update their channel programs to make them easier to navigate and understand, set out clearer terms and expectations, and open to broader opportunities. The move is part of a growing trend, as documented by The 2112 Group, among vendors to align their partners’ and customers’ journeys for better outcomes and improved customer experience.
The Details: Dell announced at its annual Dell Technologies World conference that it consolidated its channel programs with EMC and VMware, rebranded the program as the Dell Technologies Partner Program, and opened more products across the portfolio to single-point ordering. Additionally, Dell is making the sale of most of its products — regardless of the sourcing brand — countable toward partner participation requirements and earned rewards and incentives. Dell says the changes are part of its efforts to respond to partners’ requests for a more seamless experience when navigating the vendor’s expansive portfolio, which includes EMC, VMware, Pivotal, and RSA Security.
Also this week, NetApp kicked off its fiscal year 2020 with changes and improvements to its partner program, which include the consolidation of service providers and resellers into a single track, added incentives to re-engage with existing and dormant accounts, competitive displacement rebates, and a new focus on digital transformation. Also, NetApp is making system improvements to simplify and expedite common processes such as incentive applications and rebate processing.
The Impact: Both vendors say their programs are evolving and more work needs to be done, but Dell and NetApp believe the changes to their respective programs will make processing orders, applying for and receiving incentives and rewards, and accessing support resources better for their solution providers. Likewise, both vendors expect the changes to result in higher sales through partners and better outcomes for customers.
“We want our partners to be able to buy whatever they need and get credit for it, and be able to transact it. Those purchases across the entire Dell Technologies portfolio will all now count for tier credit,” said Joyce Mullen, president of global channel, OEM, and IoT solutions for Dell EMC. “This is not new for VMware – we announced that in February. But it is new for everyone else.”
“We want you to be well-positioned, so we’re announcing a new cloud competency to support the platform we just announced, the Dell Technologies Cloud solution,” said Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global partner marketing for Dell EMC.
“Regardless of the relationship you have with the customer, NetApp is going to incent you to either keep bringing new customers into the NetApp fold or expand the portfolio in existing accounts,” said Chris Lamborn, NetApp’s senior vice president of worldwide partners, in an interview with Channel Futures. “And that’s probably not something that you would have heard from NetApp four or five years ago because we didn’t have any other products to expand with.”
Channelnomics Point of View: Simplification and ease of doing business have a significant impact on vendor-partner relationships. According to the recent 2112 Ease of Doing Business Report, vendors perceived as easier to do business with have a threefold share of wallet with partners than difficult partners.