“It’s a lot more easy to consume and understand,” Reynolds says.
New, easier online tools for business planning and incentive management are on the way too. “If you think about the incentives that we pay out to hundreds of partners, that’s a big effort to calculate all of those and then pay them out to all those banking systems,” Reynolds observes.
The program changes outlined today are a down payment on bigger revisions coming in the future that will encourage members to pursue specializations, so end users can more easily find partners with skills they need.
“I don’t think the customers care a whole lot if you’re at a Registered or Gold or Platinum level. I think what customers are looking for is who can help me with my hybrid cloud implementation, or who can help me with my SAP implementation, or who can help me with my AI implementation,” Reynolds says. “We want to make sure that we can put customers in touch with those partners who are really truly experts at something.”
NetApp opted to delay the specialization push due to the disruptive impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Given what’s going on with COVID, we didn’t want to make too many changes to disrupt what partners are dealing with at this point,” Reynolds says. Microsoft similarly kept the unveiled at its Inspire partner program this week to a minimum as well.
Though CloudJumper and Spot partners continue to have their own stand-alone channel programs for the moment, NetApp plans to move them into UPP soon too. The company is approaching that process carefully in recognition of the fact that the service providers those two vendors sell through do business differently than the traditional VARs NetApp has mostly dealt with in the past.
“We’re talking about how to bring them in, what kind of requirements need to be put in place for them, what kind of training needs to be put in place for them, and what kind of benefits that kind of partner would need to be successful in the program,” Reynolds explains, adding that the merger with UPP should wrap up during the coming fiscal year.
“I don’t want other partner programs just kind of dangling off to the side,” she says.