NetApp Cheers Partners With Lead-Passing Program, Aims To Help Them Book More Revenue Through Support Services

NetApp's recent announcements revolve around software, and that's because the vendor wants to help customers transform their businesses with the help of its partners.

Venturing outside of its presumed comfort zone, NetApp, a well-known storage provider, is doubling down on its focus on flash technology, cloud, converged and hyper-converged infrastructure. These solutions will offer partners powerful growth opportunities, Jeff McCullough, vice president of Americas partner sales for NetApp, told an audience of solution provider partners at The Channel Company's Best of Breed (BoB) conference on Tuesday.

NetApp's new areas of focus are centered around Data Fabric, NetApp's data management product for moving data across hybrid cloud resources. The solution is like "dial tone for the cloud," McCullough said.

[Related: NetApp Expands Cloud Capabilities With NFS On Azure, Adds IBM Watson To Support Services]

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"The integration of Data Fabric across our portfolio is game-changing for customers because its [lets them] have access and engage with cloud services and easy transport between on-premises and cloud, or multi-cloud [environments]," he said.

One of the most interesting things about NetApp right now is their Data Fabric solution, said Michael Lomonaco, director of marketing and communications for Open Systems Technologies (OST), a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based solution provider.

A large NetApp partner, one of OST's top growth areas outside of core data infrastructure is IoT.

"The data fabric piece that NetApp has come out with, I think, is a really good solution that isn't just another widget. Especially in the IoT space where you have multi-cloud [environments], so we are really excited about that," Lomonaco said.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp, which does about 80 percent of its business through the channel today, is also piloting a lead passing program for partners.

"We've not been known as a company that does a lot of lead passing to partners," McCullough said. "My objective is that we become known for qualified leads."

The real opportunities for NetApp partners, McCullough told partners, lies in selling additional services, such as support, attached to NetApp's offerings.

"Our most profitable partner earns $6.45 of additional services revenue for every dollar that NetApp sells," he said.