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Platinum-level service partners are not required to partner with other NetApp solution providers, but they realize that not working with smaller partners would be a mistake, Parrish said.
"They can use partners as a way to reach out to customers," she said. "These large service providers don't have the feet on the street they need. So it's not a requirement of the program. We don't fell it has to be."
Solution providers also need not worry about potential competition from NetApp's direct sales team, Parrish said, as the company offers a compensation-neutral program which ensures direct sales reps get paid the same if they go through a service provider or a VAR.
NetApp's solution providers are already starting to see the benefits of the new program.
Stacy Schwarz-Gardner, CTO and strategic consultant at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time NetApp partner, said IAS has been trying to figure out how to mold cloud and service provider offerings into its portfolio.
"This can be scary for traditional resellers, because many of us fear we can lose control of our accounts," Schwarz-Gardner said. "Yet we have customers looking at service provider offerings to supplement their private data centers."
Schwarz-Gardner said she is thrilled that NetApp is going to bat on behalf of its solution providers to make sure service providers understand they need VARs as much as VARs need them.
"As a systems integrator, we can merge cloud or services offerings with NetApp's traditional storage offering," she said. "And we often know better about what customers are doing than service providers do, because we've been in the accounts longer."
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