Brocade Drives Partner Profitability with Program Changes

By Chris Talbot

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.


This article was originally published on 2011-11-18