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NetApp’s direct salespeople have been assigned to work with channel partners, and get compensated the same whether they do so or not, Georgens said.
“A lot of our guys aren’t going to make their numbers unless they bring in channel partners,” he said. “Our objective is to make our partners as involved as possible.”
An increasing reliance on indirect channels is not impacting NetApp’s bottom line, Georgens said.
“The gross margins of the two parts of the business are comparable,” he said. “But if we can get our partners to be more self-sufficient, it cuts the cost of sales for us.”
For now, NetApp’s biggest issue is increasing its coverage into new geographies and markets, an issue that can only be resolved with channel help, Georgens said.
“If we can transfer our win rate from customers who know us to customers who don’t know us, we can continue our growth,” he said. “And we need the channel to do that.
NetApp provided guidance for the first fiscal quarter of 2011.
The company estimated revenue during the quarter to reach between $1.11 billion and $1.14 billion, up from the $838 million it reported during the first fiscal quarter of 2009.
NetApp also expects first quarter 2011 earnings to be between 31 cents per share and 35 cents per share, more than double the 15 cents per share it reported last year.