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Salesforce Partner Program for Consulting Partners redesigned

In channel news this week, Salesforce made changes to its partner program for consultants; Infinio launched its first partner program; Kaminario updated the Accelerate Partner Program; and more.

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Saleforce has enhanced its Salesforce Partner Program for Consulting Partners with new resources, training and tools to help its consulting partners develop expertise around specific business functions, product areas and industries.

The updated program introduces Platinum, Gold, Silver and Registered tiers. Partners will qualify for the new tier levels based on their Partner Value Score, which measures a partner's total Salesforce business contribution according to three categories: All-Commodity Volume, Expertise and Customer Success.

The program offers onboarding resources for new partners, a continuously updated Partner Community website and access to a portfolio of partner development resources. Additional partner benefits include partner sales aid, "bootcamp" and recorded training, a monthly webinar series, support case packs, and demand generation marketing kits. Partners will now be eligible for reselling Salesforce University Training and utilizing co-marketing programs and funding, as well.

With these changes, Salesforce will also introduce a new annual program fee, which starts at $1,000 annually for Registered partners in mature markets and $750 for partners in emerging markets. Salesforce's existing partners have until April 30 to submit the payment for their highest eligible tier. New partners will be required to submit their fee upon joining the program, according to Salesforce.

Infinio Systems looks for channel growth

Looking to build a channel sales force, server-side software vendor Infinio Systems Inc. launched the Infinio Channel Partner Program this week, its first formalized partner program for value-added resellers (VARs), distributors and consultants.

The Infinio Partner Program has three tiers: Authorized, Premier and Elite. All partners will have access to co-branded marketing materials, technical training and partner portal access. The higher tiers will have access to dedicated channel managers and joint marketing activities. Infinio is offering its new partners a 90-Day Jumpstart Program for rapid onboarding and enablement and has made co-marketing dollars available.

"A lot of today's data centers -- particularly VMware data centers, which is what we target -- are built by trusted VAR partners. And we think this is a great opportunity for the value-added reseller to add something to their line card that doesn't replace anything on there. They can keep selling storage; now they can also sell Infinio," Arun Agarwall, co-founder and CEO of Infinio.

"This is a great opportunity for partners to sell their existing install base. [The Infinio product] is not a rip-and-replace solution. Anyone who's running VMware and has storage can benefit from Infinio," he said, adding that because it's a software-only product, the sales cycle tends to be short, enabling partners to identify and close business in the same quarter.

Infinio, which has been shipping products for about a year, said it will announce the availability of its 2.0 product in the coming months.

Kaminario bolsters the Accelerate Partner Program

All-flash array vendor Kaminario is updating the Accelerate Partner Program, adding several new features to make it more comprehensive for partners.

The redesigned program has two tiers: Certified for strategic partners and Authorized for basic membership. Benefits include a new partner portal, redesigned deal registration, market development funds, training and certification programs, and joint account planning. Once approved and certified, partners can also access new discounts and rebates as well as discounts on demo systems.

"It's a very straight-forward program … The program itself will allow us to scale to partners of almost every size in terms of industry and geography. And it will also help us better support our broader range of partners and use cases," said Dror Friedman, director of channel sales at Kaminario.

The Accelerate Partner Program has been rolled out in North America and will expand to Europe in the second quarter and to other geographies by the end of 2015.

Lifeboat Distribution signs with ExaGrid

Lifeboat Distribution has signed a distribution agreement with disk-based backup vendor ExaGrid Systems Inc., providing Lifeboat's resellers in the U.S. and Canada with access to ExaGrid's backup and dedulplication appliance.

ExaGrid is first data backup appliance to be carried by Lifeboat and is the distributor's first step towards a solution offering, according to Richard Bevis, vice president of marketing at Lifeboat. The distribution agreement allows its value-added resellers to bundle a software backup application with the ExaGrid appliance into a complete offering.

Tech Data adds Vspex Blue to its portfolio

Tech Data Corp.'s solution providers in the U.S., Latin America and Europe now have access to EMC's Vspex Blue hyper-converged infrastructure. The Vspex Blue appliance is available in the U.S. through Tech Data's Advanced Infrastructure Solutions division and will be incorporated into the distributor's go-to-market and enablement strategies. Tech Data said it will provide sales acceleration services and assets for its solution providers at all levels.

Passportal completes ConnectWise integration

Security vendor Passportal Inc. has integrated with ConnectWise's professional services automation software. The integration simplifies and accelerates the onboarding process for customers and reduces duplicative data by synchronizing resources and accounts between the two platforms. Additionally, service technicians can use auto-created direct links within ConnectWise that correlate to the passwords for each client in Passportal.

Passport will debut a new user interface this month and plans to release Passportal 3.0 by the end of first quarter. The ConnectWise integration is the first of several technology, sales and marketing alliances that Passportal plans for this year, the company said.

Calyptix Security revises Breakthrough Program

Firewall service provider Calyptix Security has changed its Breakthrough Program to now allow managed service providers (MSPs) to pay for its network security offering on a monthly basis instead of upfront. The company has waived the requirement for partners to reserve 10 AccessEnforcer firewall units to join the program. Partners can now join the Breakthrough Program with a low startup fee for a single AccessEnforcer unit.

Toshiba's Business Solution Division appoints new channel chief

The Business Solutions Division (BSD) of Toshiba America Information Systems Inc. has named Richard Vaughn as its director of channel sales. Vaugh has been with Toshiba for 18 years. In his new role, he will lead BSD's channel strategy, which includes expanding its reseller base; increasing revenue opportunities with existing partners; and providing support at the end-user level for education, healthcare and enterprise segments.

Next Steps

Also this week, Juniper Networks revealed its revamped Juniper Partner Advantage Program and channel strategy. At Partner Exchange, VMware introduced a number of new partner offerings and announced this year's PEX conference will be the last.

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Interesting, especially considering higher tiers being available. Hopefully the lower tiers don't lose too much in comparison to the big brothers.
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