Last week’s major event was the Microsoft Wordwide Partner Conference in Washington D.C. As you would expect, the entire week’s news cycle was dominated by Microsoft-related news, however a few other developments squeaked out so we’re running two Week That Was entries this week – the normal one and a special WPC Edition.
Verizon continues to revamp partner program, opening up enterprise accounts to the channel
Verizon Enterprise Solutions – the enterprise-oriented business arm of the New York telecom giant – is continuing to revamp its U.S. partner program by opening up about 1,700 of its biggest enterprise accounts to partners. Before now these accounts were the exclusive domain of Verizon’s direct sales team while the company’s channel partners concentrated on SMBs and the smaller end of the enterprise market. Going forward, the plan is to have partners collaborate with the direct sales team on the enterprise deals. Since reinventing itself last year as a more channel-friendly organization, Verizon’s partner base has grown rapidly, more than doubling to about 1000 partners. Verizon also announced the expansion of it’s partner program into Europe so this number will continue to grow, although the carrier says its preference is to focus on working with a smaller number of more intimate VARs and MSPs and to recruit a cast of thousands.
Apple enters enterprise market through partnership with IBM
Just as Blackberry, once the king of business mobility, seems to be continuing its consumer-oriented efforts through a recent deal with Amazon that will provide access to hundreds of thousands of Android apps, Apple is moving the other way. Apple and IBM announced a new strategic partnership through which IBM will develop more than 100 industry-specific iOS apps, platforms and services that will help Apple penetrate the enterprise market.
The two companies unveiled the first four areas they plan to focus on:
- IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions will be a series of business-focused applications targeting specific industry opportunities and has a planned release in the Fall.
- IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver end-to-end enterprise mobile services including analytics, workflow, cloud storage, fleet-scale device management, security and integration.
- AppleCare for Enterprise will see IBM provide on-site Apple customer support for enterprise customers.
- Through IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management Big Blue will supply and activate iPhones and iPads, and providing MDM services and leasing options.
Extreme Networks absorbs Enterasys’ channel with joint partner program
San Jose, Calif.-based Extreme Networks finally integrated its disparate channel programs into a cohesive approach to market. The company has been supporting two separate programs since it acquired Enterasys last November for $180 million. The new program – the Extreme Partner Network – will increase both partner services revenue and deal registration and incentives. According to the company, the Extreme Partner Network will simplify the partner sales process by delivering a single distribution network for the combined product portfolio, while streamlining the partner segmentation and rewards system. The Extreme Partner Network segments partners into one of four tiers: Diamond, Platinum, Gold and Silver based on sales volumes and their Extreme pre-sales certifications. Another new feature of the Extreme Partner Network is ExtremeWorks, a services program that allows partners to either resell Extreme's professional and support services or offer their own directly to the client.
Rackspace upgrades cloud offering, positions for expanded managed services
Rackspace expanded its public cloud offering with the addition of two new service levels and an improved, more transparent pricing model in a move that will both position the company as a managed services provider and reduce opportunities for channel partners as it goes more direct in its sales model. The move isn’t shocking to many in the IT industry as Rackspace has been cultivating a reputation for being less than friendly to partners and has been accused of undercutting and going direct. The two news service tiers, Managed Infrastructure and Managed Operations, include a free cloud-monitoring service and technical support. Rackspace also unveiled a new program called developer+ which will allow software developers to sample the company’s cloud services with an “infrastructure credit.” The new billing model transparency comes through a commitment to make sure that the price of the cloud infrastructure is a distinct line item rather than being bundled in with numerous other calculations as has become typical in the industry.