Netapp makes moves to strengthen channel

Netapp’s regional channel director, Eric Saillard has visited the Middle East to discuss the enterprise security vendor’s continued investment in the channel in this region.

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By  Andy Tillett Published  November 28, 2005

Netapp’s regional channel director, Eric Saillard has visited the Middle East to discuss the enterprise security vendor’s continued investment in the channel in this region. The vendor recently switched to a two-tier distribution model in this region. “We need to talk to everybody on the same level. The Middle East is a smaller region in terms of revenue, but that doesn’t mean that it is smaller in terms of the way we deal with resellers and distributors, or the way we roll out our programmes set up to support channel activity,” said Saillard, channel director for Europe, Middle East and North Africa at Netapp. The Middle East and North Africa is the only area of EMEA where Netapp works exclusively through the channel. Netapp has two distributors, STI and Tech Access and a strategic training partner, Fastlane, to serve the region. Saillard took up the newly created position of channel director at Netapp a year ago and in that time has worked to create a better and more committed environment for channel partners across the EMEA. “We are doing 60% to 65% of the business EMEA wide through resellers. We were a very opportunistic company to begin with, but there is a limit to that – if you want to continue growing rapidly and aggressively then you need to make sure that the channel model you have can evolve to scale. We needed to put programmes and education in the place to cultivate our reseller offering,” added Saillard. AS well as its previous offerings of technical training, Netapp is offering resellers specific sales training, and says that working through a two tier model has enabled the company to devote more time to achieving this goal. “Previously we were dealing with all resellers directly and it just didn’t allow for the growth we wanted. When I first visited our resellers they all said loyalty, training and commitment are lacking, so now we have a training partner and can certify sales people in the channel with pre and post sales training course. This gives them the ability to get credited as a partner for Netapp,” said Gavin Keeler regional director MENA at Netapp. Keeler admits that Netapp has a long way to go in implementing its full channel programme and says it hopes to have its first batch of resellers fully qualified by the second quarter of next year.

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