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Comstor, NetApp launch US$100 000-a-year channel support

Comstor, NetApp launch US$100 000-a-year channel support

Comstor Southern Africa has announced a new Comstor Imagine Programme with its vendor partner NetApp. The companies have confirmed that US$25 000 will be ploughed into the Southern Africa-focused programme per quarter to run and sustain support services to partners.

The support services have been introduced to help Comstor partners selling NetApp to differentiate themselves and drive up profit.

The services are based on a range of technologies including NetApp OnCommand Insight (OCI) IT infrastructure monitoring, NetApp Backup E-series and Recovery, NetApp's Cloud Volumes ONTAP (formerly ONTAP Cloud), NetApp HCI solution, NetApp ONTAP Select, and NetApp SolidFire All-Flash Array.

Westcon Comstor, a NetApp distributor since 2012, said resellers have been hard hit by tough economic conditions and some have witnessed a decline in returns.

Based in Westcon Comstor's Nairobi office Frank Iro, NetApp Manager for Business Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, said the company has responded to feedback received from channel partners.

"The main consideration is the pain points that the reseller community or partners have had and voiced. We tried to address them through this program. What we are doing at this stage is rolling it out bit by bit. We are going to be investing about 25 000 dollars every quarter into it and I believe it is really a reflection of what we think is required to help our partners in their entire business."

"What you learn quickly from our partners in this business is that every region it's unique challenges. We have countries where because they are very oil and gas-dependent of the crash in oil prices two or three years ago that affected certain economies. Angola is still trying to come out of that and you have countries like Ethiopia where they have forex challenges as well as all the political issues that crop up here and there. All of these are real challenges for our resellers and what we will do with the program won't fix everything but we are trying to see what we can do through a platform or framework that can help as many of these partners as possible."

Iro adds that the company will conduct reviews into the effectiveness of the programme at the end of every quarter.

"We are looking for results and this program will be reviewed on a quarterly basis because there are things that we want the resellers to achieve and based on that we will make adjustments to the program where necessary. The main aim here is to make our partners more successful. What we are hoping for is that this initiative will evolve into something core to our NetApp business and ultimately the basis from which we run our NetApp business into the future."

Louise Taute, Comstor Director Southern Africa at Westcon-Comstor said channel partners are finding it increasingly difficult and expensive to retain and skill staff – specifically as the demands of end-users evolve from pure product requirements to solution-focused offerings.

"The Comstor Imagine Programme has been expressly designed to help address these challenges, as well as challenges that extend to lack of sales knowledge, lower margins and limited funding for marketing and demand generation initiatives. NetApp is a highly relevant vendor in a market where the datacentre is the centre of the cloud universe and where data is itself king."

Morne Bekker, Country Manager for South Africa and district manager the SADC region at NetApp says the new programme will help channel partners leverage growth at the company.

"Eighteen months ago when I started at NetApp South Africa our share price was at about US$25 a share. If you look at that share price this morning it is US$86, which is a phenomenal growth. The analysts predict a 440 million dollar growth for us in this next year which is very good in a tough economic climate."

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