What’s more important: your product or your channel?
Channel Insider has a nice promo for Isilon, detailing how former NetApp channel manager Leonard Iventosch has been working on building a better sales channel for the Isilon products.
He has both been updating their channel discount model and working on partnerships with companies such as Commvault, VMware and others; especially the former has been a big hit with their partners:
“Partner margins on NetApp products were running 15 to 20 percent a year ago. Now IDC data is showing that it’s 10 percent on hardware there. But our partners are making on average more than double what NetApp partners are.”
But at the same time he also mentions that “the technology is table stakes”; no matter how good your channel program is, you’ll need to have good technology as well. This message is obviously being heard elsewhere in the industry. Just have a look at Scale Computing for an excellent example; they’ve been touting the advantages of their technology for a while, but only recently hired a complete sales and channel team, and they are not the only storage company to do so. In the meantime, industry heavyweight NetApp is feeling the pressure; they just announced a management change, and The Register has a nice account of how they have been dealing with problems integrating newly acquired technology into their products.