A Changing Partner Landscape – What Are You Going To Do About It?

After spending the major part of last week at Insight, our large annual event for the technical partner community, it is time to reflect: What have we learned about the state of the channel? What stood out at this year’s EMEA show in Dublin? And, most importantly, how does NetApp as a company react to the changing channel landscape?


I have to say that even in the times of social media, the value of meeting live should not be underestimated! That’s why every year we take the opportunity to bring our partner’s and NetApp’s technical teams together to be updated, learn, get certified and network with each other.


The importance of Insight is greater than ever: We are currently experiencing major upheavals across the channel landscape. Partners are struggling to adapt their business models as revenue is increasingly found in services and consultancy. Hardware has become commodity and pure infrastructure sales just don’t cut it anymore. Storage and data management companies like NetApp have to support their partners through this transition. The feedback we got in Dublin and the sheer number of certification trainings organized are proof that we are on the right track.



Some summaries and results I’d like to share:


- Data ONTAP Edge and clustered Data ONTAP were the innovations that dominated discussions:

- 310 individuals attended the Hands On Labs addressing these solutions.

- 224 breakout sessions and 559 labs where conducted with 513 attendees receiving certification.

- We saw lots of interest in Big Data and many discussions focused on E-Series and StorageGRID.

- NetApp’s Agile Data Infrastructure received a lot of interest, especially regarding its use as backbone for private and public clouds.

- Sean Gallagher and Alan Gerrish from Cisco together with Andy Hunt and Rory Choudhuri from VMware celebrated two years of FlexPod success, also zooming in on the latest member of the family: ExpressPod. The global FlexPod success with 1,600 deployments and more than 650 active partners speaks for itself.   



I’d also like to congratulate the recipients of our Insight “Outstanding Contribution by a Technical Expert” Awards from the following companies: ComputerGross, D.FI, EOH, SCC France and Ultra Consulting. A big thank you for your excellent performance and ongoing commitment!


On another note: While the show was underway this year, NetApp also announced a new Chief Marketing Officer – the position will be filled by our former senior vice president, worldwide partner sales, Julie Parrish. She has diligently led the worldwide partner sales including our alliances and pathways programs for the last years, setting the framework for continued and ever-increasing success – both with our partners and through our partners.


That said, having a channel-savvy CMO with such in-depth knowledge of our partner go-to-market strategies can only be positive for everybody inside the channel organization. I am one hundred percent confident that the importance of our pathways will be even more visible inside the marketing org and our partners are in for even more dedication from our side. Together, both parts of the organization will make sure that we keep a close eye on the customers’ wishes, as these ultimately influence the revenue of our indirect business.


Will there be a revamp of our channel? While the focus of our channel will not change in a major way, we have seen great success with programs for our GSIs, around cloud services and network partners which address current market needs spot-on.


A big thank you to all of our partner delegates at Insight and, last but not least: Thank you Dublin – it was a blast, see you next year!