Brocade pledges more support for channel

Barbara Spicek took on the role of VP worldwide channels at Brocade early last year having previously overseen partner activities in EMEA and Latin America. Following her first visit to the Middle East since assuming global responsibilities, Channel Middle East quizzed her on how the networking vendor plans to run its channel in 2010.

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Brocade pledges more support for channel
By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 4, 2010 Channel Middle East Logo

You recently visited the Middle East. What was the main purpose of your visit and how important was it for your role?

I travelled to the Middle East to meet with partners, customers and the local Brocade team. In my role of VP worldwide channels I regularly travel to the geographies to meet with our partners to share the global vision I have for Brocade’s go-to-market strategy.

It also gives me the opportunity to liaise directly with the companies that are so vital to Brocade’s ongoing success; without the channel, Brocade would not be as successful as it is today. I get immense value and satisfaction in meeting with our partners and thanking them personally for their commitment and continued passion.

What are Brocade’s main channel priorities when it comes to the Middle East?

Across the Middle East, there is a huge opportunity to expand Brocade’s footprint and deliver extraordinary networks to customers.  Within the Ethernet space in particular, customers are looking to deploy future-ready, reliable networks to help them cope with evolving customer demands and hunger for bandwidth.

Brocade’s ecosystem of partners is uniquely positioned to deliver such services and our objective is to continue to support this with continued innovation and fulfillment. Customers want choice and I am proud to say that Brocade and its partners offer this in abundance, not just through a robust portfolio of products but also world-class support. I want to continue to drive excellence in the Middle East and feel that we have the team in place to do this.

The Middle East is still a very small market when you analyse it in actual volume and revenue terms. How is Brocade balancing its local channel investments with the real capacity of the market?

We do not want to over-distribute ourselves, so we are highly selective.  We already have a strong distribution set-up in the Middle East with Mindware. The partners we have on board are best-in-class and have the abilities to deliver value to customers. This, coupled with Brocade’s leading fulfillment model, means that we are able to balance the market dynamics.

Credit availability and financing issues are creating many challenges for partners, especially when it comes to fulfilling projects. What is Brocade doing to help the channel overcome such problems?

Brocade has established strong distribution in the Middle East and Turkey, ensuring extended coverage through local partners. We work closely with our partners on timelines and deliveries on an individual basis to provide full air cover and protection within their projects. On top of that we have limited leasing and financial offerings available.

What changes or enhancements to the Brocade channel set-up can partners in the region expect to see in 2010?

We will be establishing stronger service and support offerings both ‘through’ and ‘to’ the reseller community. Brocade launched both support delivery and professional service partner programmes in August and will expand its reach in 2010. There will be continued addition and development of our reseller community in the Middle East — with a strong focus on partner enablement at low-cost to no-cost. We will also expand the overall coverage to maximise territory reach, while at the same time keeping the programme selective and highly qualitative and profitable for partners.

You launched the Brocade Alliance Partner Programme on a global basis last year. Where does this programme fit into the company’s strategy and are you looking to expand it further?

The Brocade Alliance Partner Network was created to help channel resellers preserve and maximise profitability with innovative sales programmes, attractive services offerings and high-integrity business processes and tools designed to level the competitive playing field, and it has proved to be a big hit with partners. Looking ahead to 2010, Brocade is committed to helping partners further differentiate themselves from the competition and in turn prosper.

We have a list of new initiatives planned for 2010 specifically targeted at increasing partner profitability, which has been the core focus of the programme. We will continue to offer ROP — return on partnership — to our channel partners and stay selective and highly qualitative in our approach.

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