Sun to take Advantage

Sun has initiated steps to revamp its five-year old iForce partner programme worldwide in a bid to improve the company’s relationship with partners and help it expand into new business opportunities.

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By  Peter Branton Published  September 18, 2005

Sun has initiated steps to revamp its five-year old iForce partner programme worldwide in a bid to improve the company’s relationship with partners and help it expand into new business opportunities. The company plans to add over 20 new technology, education, marketing and sales initiatives to entice partners. It is also scrapping the iForce name and call the new programme as Sun Partner Advantage Program. “We felt that some of the contracts we have available to third-parties didn’t really have the right kinds of things in place. So we’ve taken the opportunity to review the whole thing, which we haven’t done for a few years, to look at what they really want from Sun,” Graham Porter, marketing manager, Sun Microsystems Middle East and North Africa, told IT Weekly. Under the new plan, Sun wants to clearly define partnership categories and develop specific initiatives for each group, said Porter. The first phase focuses on ISVs (independent software vendors), followed by rollouts of programmes aimed at resellers, system integrators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) under the same overall umbrella name over the next nine months. “We are going to look at some different sets of partners. I think that’s the big message, that we have to look at things like the development community since we felt that we didn’t have a good enough partner programme in place for them,” Porter said. “In addition, we will be looking at different styles of partnerships that we haven’t put enough emphasis on before,” he continued. With the Sun Partner Advantage Program for ISVs, developers are given quick access to the resources needed to build solutions based on Sun technologies. These tools, according to Porter, will help them beco- me more focused on Solaris and Java. “We realised that we haven’t been doing enough for developers, and they need things like porting of their applications, they need demo kits, and they need people to look after them and they need content from Sun. So we are going to look at what we will be doing to improve our partner developer community, and of course putting things like Solaris 10 into the open source community, along with Java, so that we will be able to provide quite an attractive portfolio for our developers,” Porter explained. “Now we’re taking the next step and introducing the Sun Partner Advantage Program, which underscores our commitment to the ISV community by providing them with the resources they need to develop and deploy successful solutions on the Sun platform,” said Stephen Borcich, Sun’s vice president, partner marketing, in a statement. In order to extend the programme to industry-specific ISVs, Sun will also include a vertical-industry track — Industry Advantage Track — that will provide additional technology, marketing and sales engagement offerings to strategic vertical-industry ISVs. Selected ISVs will be invited to join the Sun Industry Advantage Program, which will make them eligible to receive a higher level of incentive packages, including additional access to marketing tools, Sun’s industry sales organisation, Industry Customer Excellence Centers, and development support. The Industry Advantage Track will be rolled out later this year.

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