Pure Storage makes changes to partner program to respond to change and consolidation in the partner community

The changes include adjusting benefits to the partner’s preferred business model, improving Elite Partner benefits, adding a formal Services Specialization Program, and adding more flexibility to make building up practices easier.

Wendy Stusrud, VP of Global Partner Sales at Pure Storage

Pure Storage has announced several changes to their partner program which are designed to make it more flexible, simple and transparent for Pure’s channel partners, as they evolve their storage practices towards the cloud. They have changed requirements and benefits for partners to make it easier to sell the portfolio in the way that best suits the partner’s individual business model. They have enhanced benefits for their top-tier Elite partners. They have added a formal Services Specialization Program to better enable partner-branded professional and support services around Pure’s technology, as well as their first formal program for distributors. The program has also been made more simplified and flexible, for example, by removing role-based requirements for specializations.

“These changes are responding to the major changes to the partner community,” said Wendy Stusrud, VP of Global Partner Sales at Pure Storage, who has been in the global channel role since last November. Previously VP of North American partners, she changed roles as part of a three-way flip. She replaced Andy Martin, who moved to the head of Americas sales, replacing Dan FitzSimons, who became CRO.

“Today, we are seeing a lot of consolidation in workflows in the partner community,” Stusrud said. “Some VARs are building managed service practices, some MSPs are building complementary on-prem practices. Some VARs just want to resell. Because of all these changes, there is a lot more merging of intent, so we wanted to make sure our program is simple and easy to understand.” It means that the program now provides specific requirements and benefits for partners whether they are reselling or offering managed services, as-a-service solutions, or cloud native architecture.

New differentiated benefits have also been added for Elite partners, Pure’s top partner tier, with Preferred Partners being the lower tier.

“This comes because we have standardized global requirements for Elite partners,” Stusrud said. “There used to be some variability. The benefits add additional discounts, including on deal registration for Elite partners. We are also adding a partner locator for these partners. The Pure Partner Program requirement timing will also change to align measurement with Pure’s fiscal year.” This alignment change will take effect February 7, 2022.

A formal Services Specialization Program to support partner-branded professional and support services around Pure technology has been introduced.

“This program is brand new in its formality,” Stusrud said. “In the past, it was a request, but now we have made it more formal with implementation and support specializations. We want to help partners be stickier for end users by delivering more services. The real special sauce is when the partner creates their own support for a meet-in-the channel solution and delivers something extraordinary to the end users.”

Pure has also launched a second formal program, this one to support Pure distribution partners.

“It has been solidified with rewards and benefits,” Stusrud said.

Elements of the program have also been simplified to better enable partners to invest in multiple routes-to-market enablement.

“We have removed role-based requirements, so that, for example, a sales rep can now take a technical track,” Stusrud indicated. “We just want them to build a practice. Specializations let them differentiate within the partner community, so we have made things more flexible so that they can self-select, and determine where their business is going. The flexibility is important but not a hard requirement.”

The flexibility has also been extended to the Portworx Kubernetes-focused cloud-native storage and data-management platform that Pure acquired in September 2020.

“Portworx was a smaller business, but it allows us to meet the customers where they are going, towards containers,” Stusrud said. “In talking with Advisory Council members, I found that they are excited, even though the market is still in development, because Portworx will help us get to the modern market faster. We are also recruiting and adding more partners who are pure Portworx partners who we hadn’t worked with before. They have the option of coming into the program as pure Portworx partners as well.”

Finally, Stusrud noted that Portworx partners had been transitioned to Pure’s 100% channel model, something that remains a differentiating factor for the company among the big OEMs.

“Being 100% channel makes such a difference in my day-to-day job,” Stusrud emphasized.