Brocade boosts partner perks, plans recruitment

Barbara Spicek

Brocade channel chief Barbara Spicek

Networking vendor Brocade Tuesday announced a series of changes to its Alliance Partner Network channel program, adding to the margin enhancements specialized partners can receive and aiming to make it more lucrative for new partners to sign up with the vendor.

Under the previous program, partners got one point of extra margin for reaching their revenues expectations with the vendor, and one point each of any of the four specializations offered in the program – Datacenter Infrastructure, Application Deliver, Virtualized Fabric and Network Infrastructure – for a maximum of five points.

Under the new program, the basis for reaching revenue goals jumps to two points, with another point available for a new specialization, Service Provider, for a maximum of seven points overall.

“From day one of the program, our focus has been on profitability and driving a true partnership,” said Barbara Spicek, vice president of global channels at Brocade.

The company has also taken a tiered approach to recognizing revenue goals – with the full two per cent available for reaching 100 per cent of the agreed-upon goal, with 1 point at 90 per cent and half a point at 80 per cent. Spicek said that change was made to provide incentive for partners who “have goal of $1 million, but reach $999,000.”

“We think they should still get recognition,” she said.

At the same time as it’s sweetening the pot for existing partners, the company announced new enablement efforts for partners just ramping up. Spicek said the program is designed to “lower the barrier of entry” for new partners by making support available for them despite the fact that, as new Brocade partners, they don’t yet have either the product sales or the company specializations that typically unlock partner program benefits.

“We’re looking to help them kickstart their Brocade business,” Spicek said. “A lot of these programs are only great if you’ve already got the revenues, so there’s a leap of faith there for a lot of partners.”

Under the program, Brocade will do quarterly enablement budgets with new partners, working with them to build skills in-house and demand in the market.

This is still very focused recruitment for Brocade – think about 20 partners in the U.S. and a handful perhaps in Canada – and is largely focused on more “traditional” Cisco and HP networking partners who may be looking for an alternative provider. The timing is hardly coincidental, it comes just a week after Brocade announced a new family of campus networking products that it says offer up to 5x the performance of competitive products at one-third the cost.

“It’s all about changing the economics of the campus network,” Spicek said.

Spicek described the ideal new Brocade partner as strong in their segment of the market, and focused on the SMB and SME spaces.

“Because [Canada] is such a strong SMB marketplace, I think there’s a great opportunity to work with Brocade here,” she said.

At the same time, Brocade has also introduced an onboarding portal for new partner, and refocusing its lead generation and distribution more directly towards channel partners.

And rounding out the changes to its partner program, the company announced a service provider specialization within the APN program. While Brocade has long held relationships with larger service providers at the data centre level, Spicek said the growth opportunity is particularly strong with an emerging community tier three and tier four service providers that themselves go through the channel.

“This is one partner community we’re definitely looking to grow,” she said.