Pure Storage takes unconventional channel path

SAN FRANCISCO – The newly appointed Americas channel chief Andy Martin’s entire channel philosophy for Pure Storage can be summed up in five words: “Get out of the way.”

A veteran of IBM and EMC, Martin has been running the east coast business for Pure before being named the channel chief. This is his first channel chief job and he basis his philosophy on the data he’s received from Pure’s east coast business.

“We always transact through the channel, but there is a difference with opportunities which are channel led and brought to Pure. I want those partners to grow. And, the interaction should be the partner going to us and not the other way around. We don’t want to interfere with their selling motion. We have a great product and we want the partners to do their thing,” said, the vice president of Americas Channel Sales for Pure Storage.

One of the new solutions from Pure, released at the Accelerate 2017 Conference, is an all-flash data platform for cloud specific to digital businesses. Given that most data will be created by Internet of Things sensors, digital cameras and other connected devices, Pure has updated its hardware and software for Tier 1 storage with six-nine availability and active multi-site clustering on NVMe flash technology. These updates will come with predictive maintenance support driven by a new artificial intelligence (AI) engine.

The goal for Martin is to go deeper and wider with existing partners on Tier 1 Flash solutions. There will be some recruitment for solution providers with AI and machine learning expertise. But don’t expect Pure to recruit 10,000 new partners in North America; it would be in the hundreds.

Another goal is to obtain tighter alignment with Cisco channel partners because Cisco has a very large partner network. Pure has an alliance vendor partnership with Cisco.

Andy Martin

Martin also said that this type of solution can be a funding source for the channel partner for other customer projects. “The Pure model saves dollars because you have to buy less and there is no technology refresh down the road. The average savings is 30 per cent and most CIOs don’t want to give that money back to the business. They have other projects and the partner can now go in and do a refresh, save them money and then sell value added services,” he said.

This is why it’s important to Martin that he and the channel team get out of the way. From his experience, there are times that other vendors promote the channel program ahead of the solution.

In Pure’s case they want the customer to come first, the partner to come second and then the vendor.

“We don’t want to be that check the box type of company. We want the partners to be transparent. We want a high participation rate from a very tight relationship,” he said.

Another nuance in Pure’s channel strategy is they offer front-end loaded transaction prices.

The front-end margin has no set minimum or limit. The channel partner has the ability to sell Pure technology for whatever the market bares.

They also do not work through distributors because it would take points away from the partner.

Now Martin told CDN “you can never say never on this model.” He wants to be flexible and he is always open to listening to partners and distributors and if there is a need to change he would welcome that.

Another reason Pure doesn’t work currently with distributors is the company embraces being unconventional, Martin said.

“Tech Data, Arrow and Avnet all like the products, but we don’t want to be the same as everyone else. We don’t want to be just like EMC because if we were then there would be no reason to change or buy from us. We have to be like the iPhone of storage or along those lines,” he added.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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