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Weathering the Storm: Partnering With NetApp is a Long-Term Proposition

Chris Lamborn

Being a good partner means listening to what others need and then evolving to meet those needs. The world is grappling with a devastating and uncertain situation, and we understand that our partners’ needs are different right now. As we all take critical steps to protect our health and safety in the face of COVID-19, NetApp is also taking steps to support our partners and customers in the vital area of business continuity.

Starting with our colleagues and partners in the Asia-Pacific region and moving around the world, we know that the extended NetApp community is struggling with real, on-the-ground challenges in a rapidly changing environment, from payment delays to logistics challenges.

As NetApp CEO George Kurian announced earlier this month, we are committed to taking every necessary step to be the best partner we can be. My colleague, Nancy Hart, has also outlined some key ways NetApp can support customers in these challenging times. I want to take a moment to share more information about how NetApp is helping our partners and customers navigate the current circumstances based on what we’ve learned so far.

Helping partners support customers’ critical applications

We know that many customers have urgent needs for additional capacity to support thousands of employees who are now working remotely. We also understand that customers are concerned about managing their data centers when physical access to infrastructure is limited. Both NetApp and our partners have seen shifts in customer buying patterns as people brace themselves for the workload demands on critical applications.

We are working with our partners and our country teams around the world to help ensure that products get to where they’re needed. From re-allocating demo equipment to moving products across our regional offices, we are working with partners to ensure to the best of our ability that organizations have the infrastructure they need to support remote workers. We are also providing support to customers who are already connected to the public cloud, to help them access additional capacity to support their increased virtual workloads.

In addition, we are working with partners to make sure that NetApp customers are able to fully optimize their existing investments, including the built-in tools that support data security, remote access, and virtual desktop infrastructure. To support that effort, we have produced a guide for partners to make it as simple as possible to help customers leverage the equipment and functionality already at hand to ensure that they are optimizing their existing NetApp solutions for data security.

Supporting partner sustainability

We’ve also heard from our regional teams and partners that many normal transactions are far from normal. We understand the potential related impacts on credit and cash flow because of continuing business disruptions, including the domino effect that kicks in when customers have ordered products but can’t take delivery or aren’t able to pay their invoices because they can’t access payment networks. To help address these challenges, NetApp is:

  • extending partner credit terms by 30 days for direct purchasing partners (distributors and direct resellers) with approved opportunities, when orders are placed with NetApp through to the end of our current quarter.
  • extending eligibility for achievement in partner growth programs, irrelevant of whether the customer can receive goods
  • delaying our next compliance review by three months, and then only acting on promotions
  • extending all certification expiries by six months, and
  • extending the period to claims for our competitive displacement program to allow more time for customer deployments

In addition, we are supporting partners who have NetApp funded marketing activities by providing relief for partners who have lost investments for planned onsite events or workshops and helping partners shift those events to digital platforms.

We are also conscious that this is a whole new way of selling for many people, and so we are launching a new initiative to provide social selling support to help NetApp teams and our partners adjust to connecting with customers in a virtual environment.

Partnering for the long-haul

This isn’t the kind of digital transformation anyone was looking for. However, as a data services provider, NetApp has tools and expertise that can help organizations adapt to the challenges in front of us, and we will use that expertise to support our partners and customers in every way we can.

Like you, we don’t know how long this current situation will last. We don’t have a grasp on which changes are temporary and which might become another “new normal.” We do know one thing for certain: our commitment to supporting our community through this crisis will not waver. We have long recognized that our success depends on the success of our partners and that we can all accomplish more by working together than we ever could on our own. That’s as true today as it was two year ago, and we’re proud to rally around that message when things are tough for everyone.

What partner supports would help you navigate the current climate? Please reach out to tell us. We are continuously reviewing how we can ride this storm together.

Chris Lamborn

Chris Lamborn joined NetApp in November 2015 & is currently Head of WW Partner GTM and Programs. He is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s Global Channel go-to-market strategy and the supporting programs and investments. NetApp’s Channel Partner eco-system forms the foundation of the business, supporting and contributing over 75% of the company’s revenue. Chris is a respected leader with extensive experience working with global partners and proven success in partnering to deliver incremental revenue and profitability. His detailed understanding of the multiple Partner business practices and experience of working with operations, marketing, finance across the world ensures predictable, relevant and profitable business partnerships. Prior to NetApp, Chris held distribution leadership positions at Brocade, Avaya and Nortel and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kingston University in the UK and he moved to permanently to California in 2016.

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