Partners Leverage Each Other


Sun Microsystems partners are engaged in teaming efforts of their own to try to support Sun's new solutions-oriented sales model.

Some traditional hardware VARs and newer Sun ONE partners are pairing up to fill in the blanks of each other's business, several partners said.

Ron Kattas, vice president of business development at Alexandria, Va.-based TLA Associates, which provides services using Sun ONE software, said his company began partnering with Sun hardware VAR Continental Resources about a year ago.

The two companies jointly offer solutions, with TLA handling the software and application development and Bedford, Mass.-based Continental handling the hardware sale and implementation, Kattas said.

Kattas said the partnering is beneficial to both companies because they're not competing and can each focus on their core competency. "If they bring us in, we do software, they do hardware," he said.

Chad Hutchings, regional sales manager at Continental Resources, said his company plans to build a Sun ONE practice but is still in the process of devoting time and resources to it.

In the interim, Hutchings said working with TLA makes sense for both companies. "They have resources and engineering talent to customize code and do integration work," he said, "And they don't want to be in the business of shipping and selling hardware,that's up our alley."

Similarly, Sun VAR Stonebridge Technologies, Dallas, recently struck a deal with Sun ONE solution provider Navidec, Greenwood Village, Colo., to participate in joint engagements, said Hank Johnson, vice president of infrastructure services at Stonebridge.

While Stonebridge has practices beyond reselling hardware,namely, around business consulting and infrastructure services,the company wanted access to skilled Java software developers and engineers, Johnson said.

Rather than build out a robust Sun ONE practice itself, Stonebridge instead chose to partner with Navidec, which has expertise in implementing services and application architecture using Sun ONE software.

"The more we looked at the Sun ONE message, the more we thought it an absolute requirement to have a focus [around it]," Johnson said. "But to have a practice, you need senior-level architects, so we thought there may be another way to do this."

Johnson said while such pairings have been helpful as Sun moves forward with a new solutions strategy, they are not necessarily indicative of this transition. Rather, he said the challenging economy has changed the traditional VAR model and encouraged Sun partners to be creative in finding ways to provide the best solutions for clients.