NetApps jumps into the channel

Storage vendor Network Appliance Inc. has decided to drop direct and instead connect through channel distribution to its lower-level resellers.

The company recently announced distribution agreements with Arrow Electronics Inc. and Avnet Hall-Mark so its sales staff can spend more time with resellers,

explained Network Appliance’s Canadian general manager Jeff Goldstein.

Local channel distributors may also give resellers more flexible financing options, he added.

Until now the company has sold either direct to its 14 Canadian resellers or to select customers.

Canadian resellers have until the middle of August to choose which company will be their supplier.

With the decision, Arrow and Avnet began fighting to add Network Appliance resellers to their rosters.

“”What we’re able to do is bring the value offering we have with our sales teams, lead generation and logistics, and maybe help them from a financial or a marketing end,”” said Jeff Bawol, vice-president of Avnet’s enterprise software and storage business unit.

While there won’t be price-cutting, Bawol said Avnet “”will be very aggressive about showing the reseller how and why we’re capable of growing their business at a better and quicker rate than Arrow is.””

Lance Sedlak, Arrow’s director of marketing for enterprise storage, said his company is in the middle of building a dedicated NetApp sales, marketing and technical support staff in Canada and the U.S.

There will also be NetApp-focused marketing and training plans for resellers, he said.

Arrow resellers also have Internet access to its two U.S. data centre labs for doing demonstrations and testing customer solutions, he said.

“”We believe we’ve got the best support system for helping resellers succeed in the enterprise storage market.””

The NetApp distribution program will follow that laid out in the U.S., Goldstein said, with details specific to Canada (such as training, tax and customs issues) expected to be settled shortly.

Goldstein emphasized that by making the change NetApp isn’t opening up the number of resellers, except to add in areas of the country it isn’t represented in.

For example, he said, there are no company resellers in Manitoba or Saskatchewan.

Nor, he added, does the five-level reseller model or discounts change.

There are Global partners (such as IBM and Accenture, who will continue to buy direct from NetApp), Star partners (none in Canada yet, although Goldstein is looking), gold, platinum and authorized resellers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including ITBusiness.ca and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@] soloreporter.com

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