All-flash storage array developer Pure Storage this week unveiled a complete refresh of its channel program with an eye on making it much more simple for partners.
The new program, which retains the Pure Partner Program name while dropping the previous "P3" moniker, was unveiled along with a major update of the company's flagship FlashArray//X line during the Pure Accelerate conference held this week in San Francisco.
The timing of the unveiling of the new Pure Partner Program was deliberate, said Michael Sotnick (pictured), vice president of partner, services and business development for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.
"The launch of the new [FlashArray//X] gives us an opportunity to introduce a standardized, simplified model," Sotnick told CRN.
There are several key differences between the new Pure Partner Program and the previous P3 program, Sotnick said.
The first was a move to eliminate one tier of the program and make it a two-tier program. "There's fatigue in the middle tier," he said.
Instead, the program will now have at the base a Preferred partner level for partners who maintain $250,000-per-year revenue in nonrenewal transactions with the company.
The second, the Elite partner level, is an invite-only level that requires partners to maintain minimum annual revenue of $500,000 per year in nonrenewal transactions. To be eligible for the Elite partner level, partners will have to demonstrate sales and technical competencies, provide business specialties and services, and develop a budgeted marketing plan.
More important, however was a change in the discount level aimed at helping partners avoid special pricing as much as possible.
Elite partners can get pricing at 55 percent off list price for registered deals and 45 percent off list price for nonregistered deals. Preferred partners get a 53 percent discount for registered deals and a 43 percent discount on non-registered deals.
Sotnick said the discounts will in many cases let partners get aggressive enough with pricing that they will not need to apply for special pricing. "This is something partners have been hungry for," he said. "They can get a quote and win a deal without getting price approval from Pure. Special pricing is not onerous, but it is time-consuming."
The new pricing is slated to go into effect Aug. 1 with the introduction of the revamped FlashArray//X line, Sotnick said.
However, he said, that does not mean special pricing will go away for the line. "We're in the storage industry, and we're not naive about pricing," he said. "But this is designed so a big part of the business will no longer require special pricing."
After the new pricing is rolled out, Pure Storage plans to give its partners even more independence from the vendor by providing new tools to help with the sizing and scoping of deals, Sotnick said.
That will be followed by new certifications from Pure Storage that will let partners show customers they have recognized expertise to operate autonomously from the vendor, he said.
The new tools and certifications will be rolled out to Elite-level partners first, and then to Preferred-level partners, he said.
The changes to the Pure Partner Program will help partners get closer to customers, said Ross Grover, converged infrastructure architect at Sirius Computer Solutions, a San Antonio-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner.
"I love that," Grover told CRN. "As a solution provider, we like to own our customer relationships. This will be easier if we can work with customers end to end. We will definitely take advantage of this."
Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Corus360, an Atlanta-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner, told CRN that the new program's ability to reduce the need for special pricing is a boon to solution providers, Johnson said.
"Special pricing slows everybody down," he said. "The economy today is all about speed. Customers get excited or emotional about the product, and we don't want to risk losing that by forcing them to wait for special pricing. It's better to say, 'Here's the price, here's the registration, let's do this.'"
Pure Storage has offered partners engineering and sales certifications before, but is now raising the bar with new planned certifications under the Pure Partner Program, Johnson said.
"As we bring in new products and simplify customers' environments with Pure's help, we help customers free up people and money to do things they might not have had in their budgets like deploying faster networking," he said.