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As Quantum continues its transformation from a hard-disk drive company to a specialist in storage, archiving and data protection, the company is focusing on creating custom programs and products for its key channel partners, including resellers and managed service providers (MSPs).

This is a big job, considering that 90 percent of the company’s revenue flows through the channel. In addition, Quantum concentrates on supporting a few key markets—media and entertainment, video surveillance and network forensics—for its StorNext workflow storage solution.

“We’ve been going through a big transformation and have focused on the backup, recovery and archive space over the past two to three years,” said Steve Burrows, vice president of Americas channel sales at Quantum. “We’ve also been developing some specialization for our StorNext software product in media and entertainment, video surveillance, and network forensics—places with large workflows.”

As a result, the company has developed its channel program to support these elements of the business. While other storage companies have partner programs with several tiers, Quantum is making an effort to customize partnerships by vertical markets, workflows and product focus, explained Burrows.

“It’s making sure that we have a partner program that supports where our partners want to go and where they want to build their businesses,” he added. “Whether it’s vertical support, individual rep support or focused on developing their systems engineering community, we try to customize the partnership to support them.”

When potential new partners approach Quantum, Burrows makes sure the right questions are asked so the company can best support the partner. It is based on what the partner’s business requires and how Quantum can help the partner present solutions to its customers.

For example, Quantum helped develop a complete data management cloud solution with Hipskind Technology, an MSP partner, after sitting down with its executives to discuss how to put the solution together using CommVault’s Simpana data management suite, including backup, edge protection, disaster recovery and eDiscovery, and Quantum’s Lattus object-based storage and DXi for backup and replication product lines.

At the request of Hipskind, Quantum hosted a meeting at its Denver facility to help talk through the technical challenges with CommVault and Hipskind. “Everyone flew into Quantum’s Denver facility and had a day-long meeting with its highest-level executives up to the CEO, helping us design and deliver this solution,” said Wally Lang, Hipskind’s general manager. “They assisted us in designing, developing, building and proving out the solution.

“In addition, with the data management capabilities of CommVault, we can help customers identify stale data and move it off their primary storage into our cloud and archive it using the Lattus solution and eventually off to Quantum’s tape. If I can return 30 to 40 percent of a CIO’s storage budget it’s a huge win and utilizing Quantum’s technology allows me to do that,” Lang said.

While bringing in each partner is a lot of work, it’s essential, said Burrows. “We are specialists in this business. We are focused on certain workflows and verticals, and we want to make sure that we support partners in those areas the best way that we can.”

Quantum offers the typical partner resources and tools, including a partner portal with access to registration and use-case marketing and lead-generation programs, on-site training, and joint marketing. But the training, support and promotion programs are built around supporting the specific vertical market, such as media and entertainment or video surveillance, as well as around solutions such as backup and archive work. “We try to be targeted in those types of enablement programs,” said Burrows.

“If you want to use one word about our channel program, it’s customization,” added Burrows.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributor, focuses on technology and the channel.