SunGard Looks for Growth with New Reseller Program
March 31, 2009 Alex Woodie
SunGard‘s Availability Services business unit last week launched a new reseller partner program to augment its direct-sales approach and expand its offerings to small and mid size businesses. The new program covers all of the company’s offerings–everything from traditional tape-based backup to hot site recovery and full high availability (HA) replication–and is aimed at generating referrals from resellers and “white box” versions of SunGard’s services that partners can resell themselves.
SunGard has always sold its disaster recovery (DR) and HA services using a direct-sales model. Considering that a good percentage of SunGard’s customers are big, Fortune 500-size companies, it’s always made a lot of sense to develop and maintain a close relationship with this upscale clientele, instead of relying on partners to do it.
But times are changing, and SunGard has a new CEO and a new mandate to get the most bang out of SunGard’s reputation as an expert in DR and hot site operations. What better way to leverage that brand awareness than creating a reseller program, which is being spearheaded by Carmen Sorice, who joined SunGard last summer as senior vice president of channels at SunGard Availability Services.
“Our CEO Eric Berg, who joined the company about 18 months ago, identified several strategic initiatives, and one of those top indicatives was to build a channel business,” Sorice says. “I’ve hired a team of program folks in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and I’m in the process of hiring regional channel sales directors in each of the six regions here in North America.”
There will be two types of partners in the new program: referral partners, who get a commission for driving business to SunGard; and solution providers, who will basically be reselling SunGard’s availability services to their customers. Depending on the level of expertise and training, solution providers will be grouped into authorized, select, and premiere levels.
The training provided by SunGard will vary depending on the way the partner goes to market, Sorice says. “We train the partner team on how to sell the service, the value proposition to their clients, and we train their technical folks on configurations,” he says. “If it’s a DR sale, we train them on what sites we have in the North America region, what each site’s capability is in terms of recovery services and facilities, and we train their solution engineers on how to configure solutions for end clients.”
All of SunGard’s availability services will be eligible for the reseller program. But Sorice and his team will be rolling out a series of bundled solutions that specifically target resellers. “We will be working with them on a more targeted set of services that are more channel-ready, if you will, such as Virtual Server Replication Service (VSR),” where VMware environments are replicated to other VMware systems at SunGard facilities. “We’re offering end-to-end services. We’re helping them with failover and failback. Partners are finding that to be an attractive solution for their clients.”
Resellers who are active in IBM‘s Power Systems (iSeries) channel will definitely be included in the program, Sorice says, although he declined to offer specific resellers or technology providers that SunGard Availability Services is working with as part of its reseller program.
The goal is to move the $5 billion IT services and software company toward a channel-oriented business. “SunGard today is primarily a direct sales company. We do the bulk of our sales direct,” Sorice says. “Low single-digit percentages of our business are done through channels, and what I’m looking to do is grow that to a healthy double-digit percentage in a few years.”
That growth won’t come from any one particular service or customer segment, but a need for better DR and HA across the board, Sorice says. “I really look at the growth of the full spectrum, all the way from traditional tape-based solutions, all the way up through vaulting options and true HA at the high end,” he says. “We’re doing business with partners throughout the whole spectrum. Right now, the whole area of recovery looks like it’s hot for us.”