Parrish: NetApp Committed to the ChannelBy Lawrence Walsh | Posted 2008-11-09 Email Print
Dispelling rumors and speculation about NetApp pulling out of the channel, the new channel chief says the storage vendor is going to enable its partners to grow market share and battle major competitors. In her gun sights: Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
Refuting persistent rumors and speculation that NetApp will shake off its solution providers in favor of a direct sales model, newly installed global channel chief Julie Parrish says the storage vendor is committed to growing its channel and working with solution providers to battle competitors head on.
"I don’t think [NetApp] would have hired senior talent if they were going to pull out of the channel," she said in her first in-depth interview since joining the company Nov. 3. "NetApp has a huge commitment to the channel to bring senior channel talent to accelerate revenue. More [NetApp] business is going through the channel today than there was a year ago."
In addition to landing Parrish to head global channels, NetApp also recently hired former CA channel executive Todd Palmer to head North America channels.
At the end of the first week on a new job, most people are still haplessly wandering halls in search of everything from office supplies to conference rooms. Not Parrish, who seems to have easily taken to her new environs at NetApp. Giving few signs that she’s been drinking from an information fire hose from a continual stream of briefings and executive introductions, she’s already articulating opportunities and challenges facing NetApp’s channel.
Parrish’s initial assessment: NetApp has a sound and healthy channel. "Partners at NetApp are happy. It’s a good program that’s focused, and they [partners] are making money."
Parrish is one of the most well-known and respected channel executives, having spent the last five years heading up Symantec’s massive global channel program of nearly 60,000 partners. Her channel credentials include sales and marketing posts at such high-profile vendors as Veritas and 3Com. And she has a record for navigating strident channel challenges and crises—most notably Symantec’s botched ERP implementation in 2007 that nearly brought the channel to a standstill and last summer’s flap over statements made to Wall Street analysts that Symantec was taking more business direct.
NetApp’s channel of 450 North America partners and 1,300 worldwide partners is substantially smaller than the one Parrish left at Symantec. Why make the jump to NetApp? It’s more than a change of scenery. Like her job at Symantec, Parrish will have responsibility for setting strategic direction and building the resources that enable solution providers. Unlike her Symantec role, she holds revenue responsibility and has a mandate for increasing revenue. "Here, I have a focus on improving sales as much as the [channel] infrastructure," she says.