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Pure Storage Adds New Partner Community, Tools, Services

“We want to really invest in [partners]. This is a value-based program, and not one based on total revenue or bookings. We think it’s not fair if a partner with four salespeople is treated different from a partner with 4,000 sellers,” says Andy Martin, Pure Storage’s vice president of global partner sales

All-flash storage technology developer Pure Storage has made several significant enhancements to its partner program, including offering new tools and new Pure-as-a-service incentives to help solution providers work closer with their customers.

It’s not a new partner program, said Andy Martin, vice president of global partner sales (pictured) at the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

“It’s a continuing evolution of an industry-leading partner program. ... Partners tell us, don’t go overboard,” Martin told CRN. “Just listen to the partner community. And that’s what we’re doing.”

[Related: Pure Storage CEO Charles Giancarlo On COVID, WFH, All-Flash Data Centers]

That evolution is possible because Pure Storage is a 100-percent partner-centric company, Martin said.

“Channel is in our DNA,” he said. “A lot of vendors say they’re channel-friendly. But that doesn’t mean 100-percent channel. Every day, I have salespeople fighting to get more margins for our partners. There’s a passion around the channel at Pure.”

“Evolution” is the right word to describe changes to the program, said Suzanne Gallagher, vice president of cloud and data center transformation at Insight, a Tempe, Ariz.-based solution provider and long-time Pure Storage channel partner.

“In its growth to a $1-billion company and beyond, Pure Storage has been methodical in working with partners and the support it offers,” Gallagher told CRN.

New to the Pure Storage partner program is Pure WaveMakers, an invitation-only tiered community aimed at providing support and benefits to partners based on their investment in working with the company and its products, Martin said.

“These are the partners who really bleed orange,” he said, referring to the color associated with the company’s brand. “We want to really invest in them. This is a value-based program and not one based on total revenue or bookings. We think it’s not fair if a partner with four salespeople is treated different from a partner with 4,000 sellers.”

Instead, rewards are based on certifications, how much of the Pure Storage portfolio the partner sells, and marketing activities done on behalf of the vendor, Martin said.

Pure WaveMakers seems to be similar to the key partner initiatives of other vendors such as Microsoft or Cisco, which focus on leveraging the thought leadership they invest in partners, Gallagher said.

“I love to see the evolution and transformation that comes from seeing what these vendors expect from their partners in such programs,” she said.

Pure Storage also developed a major expansion of its partner portal to make it a single source of information for the latest sales and technical resources, training, and digital asset libraries, Martin said.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re now all inside salespeople,” he said. “So it’s important to make tools available for remote sales. The selling motion is changing. Some are embracing the changes fantastically, while others are struggling. We want to give them the tools needed to be successful.”

The portal has a new focus on training as the company’s portfolio continues to grow, Martin said. This includes Pure Storage’s September acquisition of Portworx, a provider of Kubernetes data services; changes to its FlashArray and FlashBlade storage lines; its Pure-as-a-service offering; and its new relationship with Amazon Web Services.

“As we expand our portfolio, we want to bring dedicated learning paths via our partner portal with new trainings and on-line demos,” he said.

Pure Storage also added new incentives to its Pure-as-a-service offering for providing storage-as-a-service in a cloud-like fashion. Martin said Pure Storage is now offering Pure-as-a-service in a comp-neutral fashion, which means partners can run the service on-premises or in the cloud so that partners earn the same incentives whether they sell storage or the service.

Pure Storage also introduced a new version of its Pure Sizer Tool for generating solution configurations, prices, and quotes, Martin said. The new version offers partners two line items: the cost of the array and the subscription.

“It’s a simple, easy way to go to market,” he said. “Partners can easily size the deployment and show the total cost of ownership to build very nice proposals.”

Pure Storage’s expanding Pure-as-a-service offering comes as the vendor’s competitors, particularly NetApp and its Keystone program and initiatives such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake and Dell’s Flex on Demand, catch on with customers, Insight’s Gallagher said.

“Pure-as-a-service is a big part of Insight’s services business,” she said. “We lead with Pure-as-a-service. ... As customers operate in cost-constrained environments, they need the flexibility. And they need partners like us to help navigate the moves. There are many choices to navigate. Everybody has a plan, but then the pandemic or some other event happens, your client suddenly doesn’t know what they need going forward.”

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