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Level up! How the updated NetApp Unified Partner Program will help partners achieve more

Chris Lamborn

NetApp Unified Partner Program Evolution, transformation, resilience—all are key to success in today’s business environment.

That means we have a responsibility to stay ahead of the curve in terms of partner and customer needs. And that’s what NetApp continues to do with the next stage of evolution of our Unified Partner Program.

We’ve been on this transformation journey with our partners for some time. As the industry and market change, so do our customers’ needs. Together with our partners, NetApp has made some big shifts to deliver bigger, better outcomes:

  • We have transformed into a cloud-led, data-centric software business.
  • We have expanded our relationships with partners in the cloud.
  • We have focused on differentiating partners by the business capabilities and competencies that are relevant to customers.
The NetApp® Unified Partner Program is evolving to make sure that we reward partners for taking this journey with us. In fiscal year 2022, we’re laying out a path toward a new Unified Partner Program structure. This renovation will clearly differentiate our partners in ways that are relevant to customer priorities and that recognize how our partners contribute, regardless of their sales motion.

Here are the reasons for the new structure.

1.    To reflect the way our partners lead with solutions

Our partner ecosystem has evolved enormously. Digital transformation is accelerating, and it’s becoming more complex. The solutions that customers need aren’t one size fits all. That’s because true business transformation doesn’t come off the shelf—it takes an ecosystem of partners with complementary specialties to deliver the outcomes that customers need.

As a result, our partners are doing business with NetApp in new ways, embracing the need to sell solutions, not just products. The lines between partner types have blurred. Many of our partners have already shifted to a mix of reselling revenue, consumptive revenue, and influence revenue—all driven by what their customers need to succeed in the market. In fact, our partners are meeting customer needs in ways that are completely different than they were 5 years ago.

Many of our existing partners are doubling down, expanding beyond their traditional roles and collaborating with others to bring more value to customers. New partners are coming to NetApp because we have technology solutions that solve real-world customer challenges. We have specialist partners driving AI solutions that deliver huge transformations for customers. We have partners building whole new offerings around the NetApp Keystone™ portfolio of services. And we have partners helping customers build a hybrid cloud data fabric that maximizes their data, whether it lives in the cloud or on premises.

Regardless of how partners transact with us, NetApp rewards their behavior and motivates them to go deeper with customers into their digital transformation journeys.

2.    To make sure that partners know exactly how to earn more with NetApp

When you wake up in the morning and already know how to make more money, it’s a lot easier to hit the ground running. We are aligning our program to the roles that partners play in NetApp’s go-to-market priorities.

We want every person connected to a NetApp opportunity to get out of bed every morning knowing how to increase their margins, earn personal benefits, and differentiate themselves in the market. From long-time loyal partners to new cloud-only partners, in the five-yard walk from the coffeemaker to the Zoom screen, everyone will know the learning path and the earning path to the top tier of our program.

Simply put, we’re building a program that makes it easy to know exactly how to make that happen before you finish your first cup of coffee.

3.   To benefit partners and customers in a changing market

Building a successful partner ecosystem isn’t a one-shot deal. Our new partner program will reflect what’s happening on the ground. For all of us, that’s about delivering what customers need in the best way possible.

We’re confident that these changes will benefit our customers, our partners, and NetApp. We’ll stay flexible, growing and changing the company and our program as needed to make it easier for partners to deliver NetApp solutions. Ultimately, that’s what evolution, transformation, and resilience are all about.

We’re committed to helping our partners navigate these changes. Watch for regular communications about how we’re evolving the NetApp Unified Partner Program. And learn more about NetApp’s partner-first approach and how we empower our partners to grow and succeed.

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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