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Hitachi Vantara's Kim King: New Partner Portal Will Unify Resources

'We're really getting aggressive about how we communicate with them,' Hitachi Vantara channel executive Kimberly King says of the company's new online partner portal in an interview with CRN that also covers IoT adoption in the channel and other program changes

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One of the things you talked about last year was how Hitachi Vantara was changing its channel program from being a transactional, hardware-based program to something that is more value-based. How has that transition been going?

It's going great. We've really seen a huge adoption, especially from partners that sit outside of the pure reseller channel. The technology partners and the [global systems integrators], they, and even our managed service providers — they look at it from the perspective of where in the past they really had to earn through reselling. Now we do demand [generation] programs with them. We do all kinds of marketing activities, co-branding, all kinds of things that work with them, and they love that. So it's been good, a huge investment. We made tons of investments this year into programs that support that front-end piece of helping them find and adopt and drive our technologies.

When it comes to a value-based program, how do you measure that value?

So we look at influence from partners, which I think is No. 1. Even if a partner doesn't resell, they're there to influence an opportunity, or they may identify an opportunity and bring it to us. Like a GSI would typically not resell product, but they're the ones that are first on the ground, right? They're selling a much broader solution, and we're a component of that, and so we track, all of that, all of those pieces. So really sourced, influenced where they find it, that sort of thing — we're looking at all of those.

Does Hitachi Vantara still have tiers for partners?

We really got rid of the tiers last year. We tried to look at it more from an engagement model perspective. So, partners who engage actively with us, we're investing heavily back into them. Partners who do one deal a year? They're not going to get that same level of investment or engagement. Not that we don't support them through the process, but we found that partners, when they come to us and say, "here's my business plan, here's the activities that I want to roll out," we're going to invest with them over a 12-month period, they're really active with us. We have seen that engagement really increase.

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