Suse has jettisoned revenue targets for its partners to move up tiers in its new channel programme, instead saying partners must have a certain number of staff certified through its training for each tier.
The software vendor delivers all its solutions through open source, offering enterprise Linux products, software-defined storage solutions, OpenStack cloud and systems management.
The new programme will focus on these four stacks and aims to get partners certified as a specialist on at least one section.
Mark Salter, vice president of channels at Suse, explained: "We have removed revenue targets for our partners to achieve the highest status. It's no longer about how much they sell, it's about how they engage with our clients. It is about the client experience.
"We have Suse-certified training levels - administration and engineers - where we do the courses online. We ask partners to commit to a certain number of people to get those skills. We certify them, we make sure they have those skills and that they maintain those skills."
There are three levels to the new programme. The first, "ready to partner", sees partners buy and sell Suse products through distributors.
It's no longer about how much they sell, it's about how they engage with our clients.
The second tier is an Accredited partner, which requires at least one certified administrator and one certified salesperson. These partners are advertised on the vendor's partner portal and get deal registration rebates of 10 per cent.
The final tier is a Solution partner, which will have at least two certified engineers and two certified salespeople. The partners will get deal registration rebates of 30 per cent.
"Solution partners will also need to have an agreed business plan with us: what we are going to try to do; how we are doing to do it; who is going to do what etc. Because we have the four different sections to our business, they will be Solution partners for the section they are certified in," said Salter.
"Partners don't have to commit to everything. The important thing is that they choose what they are going to focus on. They get deal registration rebates of 30 per cent. I've never seen that before; I think it is the best you will see anywhere."
The vendor has around 15,000 partners globally, with several thousand in the UK. Salter said that every partner will be put on the new programme at the entry-level tier and be given the choice to get certified.
"If 90 per cent of our business goes through the channel, their input is utterly essential. This programme will be the key driver that will allow us to grow with our channel partners. We can't grow if they aren't growing; we need our channel partners," he added.
Suse partner i-Layer has become a Solution partner with the new programme, and its managing director said that the stacks of products that partners can be certified on means that there is no pressure to sell all the vendor's solutions.
"The new programme is simple, as we are not forced to take Suse's entire stack and we can work with them at a level that suits us. All they ask is that we show we can represent their solutions, and in return they reward our success," he added.
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