New Brocade Channel VP Will 'Leverage Channel More Successfully'

Brocade Communications' new vice president of worldwide channel sales, Pete Peterson, says he's going to leverage Brocade's channel more successfully and build stronger relationships with its partner community.

"The attractive part to taking on this job was, how do we build a stronger, more strategic alliance and relationship with our solution providers and distribution partners? That's an opportunity for Brocade, and certainly where I can add some value," said Peterson in an interview with CRN. "We want to leverage our channel more successfully with the growth expectations of the company, with the market and products segmentations, where we're going in our investments -- and we are going to need the channel in a big, big way."

Peterson is tasked with developing Brocade's channel programs and managing the company's go-to-market strategy. He spent nearly 20 years as a sales and channel leader for Tech Data, where he worked with hundreds of vendors over his career creating channel initiatives, including at Brocade for 10 years, he said.

[Related: Brocade CEO: Transition To Open Source Will Be Difficult For Cisco]

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"I was a strong advocate for the partner community as a voice back to the vendors [about] the things that would help partners be successful in the marketplace," said Peterson. "So I have a keen sense of what works and what doesn't."

Partners are hailing the San Jose, Calif.-based networking company's decision to hire the industry veteran, who is well-known in the channel.

"There are not many people out there that are as well-versed in our channel as Pete Peterson," said John O'Shea, president of Vology, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider and longtime Brocade partner. "We're really excited about somebody like Pete taking on this role. He understands how the channel works not just from the distributed perspective, but he's worked closely with manufacturers developing channel programs."

"The fact that he's hooked up with Brocade is not just a great boon for Brocade, but it’s a great boon for partners. … He's one of those guys that's always been front and center dealing with partners throughout his career," said O'Shea.

In regards to his channel strategy, Peterson said the market has been transforming, particularly on the cloud, mobility and social networking fronts over the past several years. That transformation, he said, has created the need for Brocade to build out a "stronger ecosystem." He is looking to onboard more partners founded within the past three to five years around these three growing markets.

"There are some new, emerging partners born in the cloud or in mobility, and it's a basic fabric of their DNA, so that’s the piece I want to dig in, and figure out what's the state of our existing partner relationship and ecosystem today," he said. "Then we'll figure out what we need to add and invest in, in terms of existing partners, to get them to the levels that we need for them to be to deliver and execute on our business plan."

Another key reason why he joined Brocade is because of the company's "unbelievable" technology, which he says is on the forefront of the transformation in the networking space.

Brocade is pushing toward a portfolio of open architectures and solutions from routers and switching to campus and data center devices around areas like software-defined networking and network function virtualization.

Peterson said it was a tough decision to leave Tech Data, but that he always wanted to work for one of its vendors in a global channel role.

"My message to the solution provider community is: Partner with Brocade," he said. "We're in a unique position to bring value to the marketplace in the ability to make their business model more efficient, and go-to-market strategy stronger, and ultimately for [partners] to be considered more valuable downstream to their end-user customer base. … We want to be on the forefront of the discussion in their strategy meetings."