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By Gina Roos

Zend Technologies is expanding its global channel partner program to help drive sales and support of its flagship Zend Server, an application platform for developing, deploying and managing business-critical applications using a PHP server-side scripting language.

The latest version of Zend Server is driving customer demand for next-generation mobile and cloud-based enterprise PHP applications, according to Zend. As part of a turnkey solution, Zend Server can be deployed either in the cloud or on-premise.

This increased demand has driven Zend to re-evaluate its channel partner program and develop a tiered system. The reason for the move from a one- to three-tier model is “to create a real go-to partner model,” said Lisa Anderson, Zend’s director of the global channel partner program. The goal is to create a tight relationship between the partners and Zend’s salespeople to help them grow their businesses, she said.

Anderson made it clear that Zend is not looking to create a fulfillment model, although the company is looking to expand partnerships with both resellers and system integrators. Since solution providers play a big role in providing expertise to help customers deploy applications written using the PHP language, Zend is looking for partners that have a software development skill set, particularly with working on mobile application projects with a PHP back-end.

The Solution Partner Program offers three levels of participation: Zend Select Partner, Zend Advanced Partner and Zend Premier Partner. The channel program offers a variety of benefits, including partner-specific technical support and resources, sales and technical training, sales incentives, access to a new partner portal for marketing and sales materials, and use of Zend software for development purposes. At each higher level, partners receive additional benefits.

The program makes it easier to work with Zend and it gives partners additional benefits, including more training, deal registration, and additional licenses and discounts, said Anderson. The company also is working to move sales leads—including custom development projects, which Zend doesn’t participate in—to partners at the Premier and Advanced levels.

Zend currently has more than a hundred global partners, with strong channel partnerships in EMEA. The company plans to move existing partners into the new program as their agreements need to be renegotiated or renewed. However, they will start to receive some of the new benefits immediately, including access to Zend’s Webinar program.

The company has already signed a few new partners under the three-tier program, which requires a commitment to a specific number of salespeople and engineers trained on the Zend Server offering. Partners also need to have the ability to do joint and partner-driven marketing, and to participate in business reviews to help them grow their businesses and achieve commitment levels, Anderson said.