Sun's Partner Program Revamp Starts With ISVs

The new ISV program represents the first time Sun has offered a tiered program to such partners, said Steven Borcich, vice president of partner marketing for Sun, Santa Clara, Calif.-based.

"Today, the program is monolithic," he said. "But partners said they need more information tied to products, education, sales tools, and so on."

Sun announced last month that it will retool its channel programs in an attempt to improve return on investment with specific partners and to realign the programs with Sun's growth strategies. Details about how Sun will work with its solution provider and system integrator partners are expected to be released later this year.

The new ISV program starts with a base tier that provides information about new Sun products and information. This tier requires no formal commitment from ISVs.

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At the second level ISVs become eligible for such tools as partner-ready sales materials and marketing resource guides. It also allows ISVs to participate in Sun events and make use of a variety of Sun branding opportunities. ISVs must commit to move their technology to match a specific Sun technology, such as such as porting an application to Sun's Solaris on x86 or committing to Java, Borcich said.

At the third level, ISVs who commit to Sun on multiple technologies become eligible to participate in a number of channel and partner activities. "As we focus on particular solutions, such as financial services, partners who bring in related applications such as billing automatically join this level," said Borcich. "The more commitment the partner makes to Sun, the more Sun will invest in the partner."

At the highest level, open only to ISVs who are nominated by Sun executives, partners get early access to new Sun hardware as well as executive access to Sun's Solution Centers, Borcich said.

Partners at the lower tiers can access some of the programs in the higher tiers, but will have to pay a nominal fee for that access, said Borcich.