11/5/2002 - Sun Microsystems, a leader in systems and solutions that make the Net work, unveiled new programs for its U.S. iForceSM channel partners in the latest example of the company's commitment to putting partners first. Sun has enhanced its iForce Partner Program model for channel partners and evolved associated partner support programs to provide margin improvement opportunities, help increase profitability, make it easier to do business with Sun, and increase channel partner recognition.
"Improving profitability, simplifying the business relationship and recognizing partner investment and contribution are the underlying goals of Sun's channel strategy," said Gary Grimes, vice president of U.S. Partner Sales and Management, Sun Microsystems, Inc. "Our partners invest so much of their business in Sun that they have become an extension of Sun's own sales team, with equivalent skills, services, practices and product knowledge. These programs are a direct result from their requests. Bottom line - we're listening."
Sun has streamlined its iForce channel partner structure and moved from six designations to two for U.S. partners: Strategic iForce Partner and iForce Partner. Along with this change, Sun simplified the criteria for achieving iForce Partner qualification and continues to promote the iForce logo to help partners leverage the iForce community and communicate its benefits to customers. Strategic iForce Partner and iForce Partner classifications require specific investments in Sun training and certifications, as well as meeting minimum revenue goals.
In addition to the category changes, Sun has established eight new incentive programs to reward and recognize any title transfer partners who have invested heavily in Sun's business; have a unique value-add; lead with their own application solution on the Sun platform; or can move the team into new accounts to which Sun has not previously had access. The programs include:
Target Account Program - Sun has developed a rebate plan to help channel partners invest and create demand in a specific list of "new-to-Sun" target accounts in their general territories. Starting January 1, 2003, channel partners who sell into Sun-designated target accounts will receive a cash rebate on all sales for a defined period of time. A segment of the Target Account Program rewards partners that focus on midsize enterprises, following Sun's recently announced push into the midmarket.
Strategic Investment Rebate - Sun will recognize and reward, with additional cash incentives, our channel partners who make extraordinary investments in their Sun business model. Partners who meet established criteria are eligible for a cash rebate.
Sun-Only Rebate - Sun will provide additional cash incentives to channel partners who sell and support Sun-only complete UNIX(R) systems and Sun-only storage solutions. Channel partners who do not offer competitors' products and meet the criteria are eligible for a cash rebate.
Elite Rebate Program - Last year Sun introduced its first product-specific program called Storage Elite, which rewards iForce partners with a core competency in storage hardware and software consulting integration. Sun is evaluating additional programs that differentiate and reward partners for the unique value they bring to customers through specific product specialties.
Sun ONE Specialty Program - iForce partners can achieve Sun ONE Elite or Premier status within the iForce Partner Program for Sun ONE if they have a significant focus on Sun software products as part of their business offering. Partners within the program who meet the designated criteria can receive quarterly cash rebates based on revenue performance.
Business Services Program - Sun is introducing a Sun FundSM approved Business Services Program, designed to offer Strategic iForce Partners professionally structured opportunities to design, develop and execute joint business plans with the appropriate Sun teams to drive and increase successful sales engagements. The first service being offered to qualifying partners is a formally facilitated joint business planning process, available January 1, 2003.
iForce Advocate Program - This executive sponsorship program matches Strategic iForce Partners with Sun executives. iForce Advocates provide an additional avenue for partners to share strategic information.
Education Market Allowance Program - Sun will provide an additional allowance to qualified channel partners for sales to U.S. higher education and K-12 markets. Partners who meet certification requirements and who focus on these markets with sales and marketing resources will qualify for the Education Market Allowance.
Finally, the Sun Fund marketing program will continue to provide Sun's channel partners with investment dollars to develop joint go-to-market initiatives, marketing services, equipment and training programs. The current SunFund model will evolve to allocate more funds to various rebate programs focused on rewarding for Sun infrastructure investments and strategic product sales.
About Sun Microsystems
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision — "The Network Is The Computer" — has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work.
Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo, iForce, SunFund and The Network Is The Computer are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries. UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, exclusively licensed through X/Open Company, Ltd.
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