Sun Simplifies Global Channel Program

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Channel Chief Bill Cate provides an update on the company's process and progress.

Looking to get a better handle on its global channel business, Sun Microsystems has been working to streamline and simplify its program, not only making it easier for Sun but also making it more consistent across all the company's geographies.

Sun's global channel chief offered a view into the process and progress of the program.

"We had a global program on paper. It just was different in every country we went to," said Bill Cate, Sun's global channel chief, in a recent question-and-answer session during an Amazon Consulting Webinar. Each geography had local systems and tools that had been created by people in the field. Unique contract terms needed to be addressed, and inconsistent applications and training standards needed to be unified, according to Cate.

Sun first announced a revamping of its Sun Partner Advantage program in July, expanding the program from developers to also encompass resellers. In addition, the company made it a priority to create consistency among all the different channel organizations worldwide.

"There was a lack of visibility into the revenue stream," he said. "When we were in the boom, it didn't matter what we did in terms of globalizing."

But today's market is different. With that in mind, Sun has rolled out compliance guidelines for field organizations. And it also has tackled smaller issues. For example, the company's channel organization has gone from 80 different words to refer to partners down to just one. And the new approach is yielding results, according to Cate.

"Systems-wise we are much more efficient now in getting more visibility and line of site," he said.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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