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Brocade
is making changes to its channel partner program to increase the profitability
of its current partners and to bring new partners into the fold. The Brocade
Alliance Partner Network (APN) is being updated 
and getting some new components.

Brocade
said the changes are driven by the continuing maturation of cloud technologies,
and Brocade is positioning itself as an alternative channel-friendly
infrastructure vendor focused on channel profitability. According to Raelyn
Kritzer, director of channel marketing at Brocade, profitability is one of the
key reasons for the changes to APN.

For
instance, Brocade has updated its deal registration discounts. APN’s deal
registration program now provides higher discounts on all IP product sales.
Additional discounts are also being provided through Brocade’s Value Incentive
Program (VIP), which was modified to offer APN Elite resellers with a revised
cumulative discount structure with payouts at a lower threshold. VIP also has a
new partner designation, the Service Provider Specialization, which was
designed to for networking skills in the service provider space.

“We’ve
been really focused on helping our partners create demand with our customers,”
Kritzer said.

Brocade
currently has approximately 5,000 channel partners, with 300 in the top tier of
the APN program. Brocade is also in partner recruitment mode, but is
emphasizing quality over quantity, Kritzer said. Especially at the top tier,
Brocade wants to keep the number of partners to a manageable size in order to
provide a competitive edge. She noted that APN is a value-based program, and as
partners gain certifications and specializations with Brocade, they can move up
into the higher tiers of the program.

To
attract new partners, Brocade is now offering enablement funding to partners
brand new to the APN program. Funding for new partners is intended to get them
up to speed quicker on Brocade’s technology and initiatives, and new partners
will have access to various activities, including demand generation and
marketing, technical and sales training, and the development of lab
environments.

“Overall,
our focus is on recruiting new partners. We want to make sure we’re recruiting them
and making it easier for them to work with us,” Kritzer said. Brocade is
looking to accelerate new partners in its program to get them up to Premier and
Elite status quicker.

For
existing partners the changes to the program, which also include enhanced
enablement tools to help sell Brocade solutions and additional lead and demand
generation initiatives, were made to help them bring in and close new business.

“We’re
hoping that the changes will help them drive additional business,” Kritzer
said.

She
noted that Brocade plans to release more marketing enablement tools in the next
quarter. The forthcoming tools will also be designed to help partners drive new
customer business.