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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.