We don't want to talk to partners who are strongly engaged with other vendors

DQW Bureau
New Update


How has the acquisition of Foundry Networks impacted your channel network?

Brocade had a strong partner approach, primarily around the SAN system and

connectivity. Now we have changed the channel philosophy towards building up a

comprehensive parallel networking channel to offer converged and end-to-end data

center solutions.

In June, we launched the Alliance Partner Network (APN) where our primary

focus is to improve partner profitability as the IP world is hard pressed for

margins. We also want to be very selective and not recruit thousands of


We have already started talking to some of the classic Brocade partners about

getting involved in the Ethernet space. We have brought the traditional Foundry

partners into the APN program and are recruiting new Ethernet partners as well.


What are some of the differentiating factors about the APN program?

We are strongly focusing on lead registration and project protection, and

providing enablement to the partners in terms of training at low or no cost.

There are several vendors who charge a lot for offering these certifications.

Barbara Spicek

VP-Worldwide Channels, Brocade

We will recruit partners across three levels-Elite, Premier and Select-in

very selective numbers. When it comes to distributors in India, we will not have

more than three. The reason we will have limited number of Elite and Premier

partners is to guarantee profitability to those partners.


We are working with our partners to prepare joint business plans. We don't

want to waste our time talking to partners who are strongly engaged and have

very good reasons to stay with their vendors.

Because we are entering the market late and we know that there are many

long-standing partnerships and therefore also many instances of partners wanting

to stay with their vendors. We want to make sure that these partnerships have

mutual business plans which we can use to tap the market together.

What will be the profile of partners you will recruit?

We will look at resellers who come in with a very strong IP networking skill

set and professional service skills. Obviously as a vendor, we are late in

entering the market. Therefore, we will look at our reseller partnerships that

will help us augment our position in the Indian market.


At the same time, we come with a very strong value proposition given that we

own 80 percent of the data center business. We are interested in selective

partners who will go into the existing Brocade accounts and start cross selling

the networking products as well.

What is the USP of the APN program?

One USP is that from the technology standpoint, we are the only end-to-end

alternative to Cisco.

The other value proposition is that we are going with a very selective

philosophy. We will engage on a limited number so that our partners remain



This aside, we have a very rigid and monitored lead registration program with

which we actually protect partners in the deal.

How do you ensure the last?

Most vendors actually ask their partners to pay heavily for certification

and training. To our partners- SAN and LAN-we offer MDF dollars across all our

product lines. Out of this, they can reinvest a portion of the MDF on training

their people. So it becomes a self-funding relationship which is what the

partners really love.

Partners are not so keen on their principal's technology prowess, as they

are on profitability. How will you actually enable that?

We run a comprehensive enablement plan which is part of the business plan

which includes training and then gets into details like account and lead mapping

exercises. We actively identify accounts and leads together with our partners

and ensure that we get into joint selling activities.

Secondly, one internal part of the partner program is that it allows the

partner to leverage the service support package. So we are actually allowing the

partner to create customer stickiness that will provide them with recurring


Vinita Bhatia