Extreme Networks' Revamped Partner Program Blends Avaya, Brocade Features

Networking vendor Extreme Networks wants channel partners to notice that it's not the same company it was three years ago.

The 20-year old provider is revamping its channel program this month, and partners will see the benefits of those changes starting in January 2018. The program, among other features, will offer 19.5 percent in backend rebates for partners, according to Extreme's Chief Revenue and Services Officer Bob Gault, who was speaking to an audience of solution providers at The Channel Company's Best of Breed (BoB) conference on Tuesday.

"Our vision is to be recognized as a leader in software-driven networking solutions," Gault said. "We're transforming, and we are no longer just a box seller."

[Related: Extreme Networks To Acquire Data Center Assets Directly From Brocade, Won't Wait For Broadcom]

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Extreme, the third-place market leader in the networking space behind Cisco and HP, has made several major asset acquisitions over the past several years, including Avaya's networking business, a deal it closed in July, and networking vendor Enterasys in 2013. The vendor also announced its intention to buy Brocade's data center business.

Extreme's soon-to-be-launched, remodeled channel program, will rationalize the disparate partner programs from its Avaya and Brocade acquisitions by "cherry picking" the best parts of each program, Gault said.

"The new, unified program will be aligned with where Extreme is going -- around selling solutions, new logos, and wireless software," he said.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company today has 4,000 partners and does 87 percent of its sales through the channel. That percentage is up from 82 percent a year ago, Gault said.

"Partners want vendors that know their name and engage with them. People do business with people they like, so I think Extreme is on a good path," said Jason Wright, managing director of All Covered IT Services from Konica Minolta, a Houston, Texas-based MSP in the audience.

All Covered doesn't partner with Extreme today, but Wright said that the way Extreme handles leads and marketing development funds for partners is compelling.

"I like companies that don't dish out MDF, but instead are the are investing in lead generation campaigns and programs and then dispersing the leads," Wright. "I think that way is more effective."