Veritas Opens Veritas Vision Conference, Unveils New Channel Program

The event itself has been reorganized to help channel partners work with customers, as this year marks the first time the vendor is holding its channel event and end-user event together, said Mike Sotnick, vice president of partner sales at Veritas.

In the past, Veritas Vision included a stand-alone partner conference held prior to the end-user event, said Sotnick. "This year, Veritas Vision is an umbrella conference for users and partners," he said. "We will have partners participate in keynotes for Veritas, and then we will head off to their own conference," he said. "So Monday will see partner involvement in our announcements."

Sotnick, who joined Veritas in January, said he inherited a strong channel program when he joined, so he isn't looking to make sweeping changes to the way the vendor works with the channel. "I want to build on the successful programs that are in place today," he said.

On Monday, Veritas introduced four new parts to its channel program.

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The first, the Channel Loyalty Program, is a points-based program that rewards solution provider salespeople, but not the solution provider organization, with points for selling specific Veritas products, said Julie Parrish, senior director of channel marketing at the company. Under the program, solution providers also receive points for going through training, she said.

Sotnick acknowledged that some partners don't like "spiff" programs, which reward salespeople for specific vendor sales goals. "So we are taking a balanced approach with partners and their people," he said. "We will also offer returns to the partner organization. . . . On Tuesday, we will tell solution providers that as they become certified, we will provide margin expansion opportunities specific to tech support and education services. Just by being certified, they get immediate margin expansion opportunities."

The second program, called the Sales Professional Program, offers solution providers self-paced training, instructor-led training and test-out possibilities free of charge.

"Organizations can increase their sales capital without large investments," Sotnick said. "And this is not just our normal products. It will included [products from our Precise Software Solutions and Jareva Technologies acquisitions] as well. We will continue to profile our partners in terms of product success and platform success."

The new Focus Program, targeted at partners that recently signed up with Veritas, is designed to help partners that have a strong focus in key platform areas to gain the benefits of higher partner status earlier than they normally would.

Many of Veritas' partners have strong expertise in Solaris and certain aspects of the Windows platforms, said Sotnick. "So we're forming an apprentice program aimed at partners with core competency in certain other platforms such as AIX or enterprise Windows aimed at getting they up to speed on Veritas software in those platforms," he said.

The Focus Program provides accelerated benefits to new partners for up to six months after they sign on with Veritas, said Parrish. These benefits include more free 24x7 technical support, more qualified leads from Veritas marketing, free evaluation and not-for-resale software, and a listing on the vendor's Web site. "These are benefits given to partners who have been typically with Veritas for some time," she said.

The fourth program is the Strategic Channel Partner Program, under which Veritas will start treating vendors partners such as Hitachi Data Systems, StorageTek, Fujitsu, Unisys and Dell Computer as if they were solution providers, said Sotnick. "We have enjoyed success with these partners but have kept them out of the core channel programs," he said. "So we will increase marketing, tech and sales support to these partners."

Sotnick acknowledged that offering this program these vendors, especially Dell, could create friction with Veritas' traditional partners. "We have an obligation to all our partners," he said. "We recognize the risk of competitive pressure on our partners, but with effective management we can level the playing field and provide them all opportunities."