Numbering more than 8,000 around the world, NetApp’s partnerships include some of the brightest and most forward-thinking minds within our industry. Together, NetApp and its partners are helping customers solve the complex challenges facing today’s businesses. Avnet makes it easier for customers and partners by providing innovative methods for solutions to be delivered and implemented quickly. In this article, Doug Smith, BDM CI Global Channels, NetApp, sits down with Avnet’s Desi Garavito, Program Manager Converged Solutions and Kristie Nedza, Brand Manager Marketing to talk about how Avnet fosters innovation.

Doug Smith: Thank you for joining me today. Avnet is a great partner of ours and a great company to work with. We’ve both had a lot of success with FlexPod – FlexPod has been good for us, good for our partner channel and great for customers. But can you talk about the FSA One Frameworks™ program and how it came to be?

 

Desi Garavito: It started with an idea, about sixteen months ago, of how can we accelerate FlexPod in the market and make it much easier for our partners to engage and sell more to customers.

 

Doug Smith: You saw a gap in the sales motion and began to think about how you might address that gap?

 

Desi Garavito: Exactly. As a converged infrastructure, FlexPod is bringing components together from different companies, and while all of us are easy to do business with individually, together there were some obstacles for partners as they went through the sales motion. We wanted to find a way to remove those obstacles.

 

Doug Smith: But this is nothing new for Avnet – you have a history of thinking this way, of encouraging your people to find better, faster ways of conducting business.

 

Kristie Nedza: Yes, and it is one of the things I enjoy about working here at Avnet. While I am new to this team, I have been at Avnet for a while. Innovation is part of our core culture. This project was no exception.

 

Desi Garavito: Kristie is right. Once we identified that we wanted to improve how FlexPod was sold, we created a project team that was equal parts Cisco, NetApp and Avnet. We wanted to touch on all the things that make it, not necessarily hard to do business, but are definitely obstacles for our partners. We believed we could take delays out of the sales motion for FlexPod. We knew this would let more partners become involved and that it would drive higher revenues for everyone.

 

Doug Smith: It was real thought leadership and innovation to recognize that there could be a better way of doing something, to address any flaws and find a way to remove them.

 

Kristie Nedza:  I’d like to make one comment about what you both just said about doing things differently. Quite frankly, Avnet has been offering FlexPod bundles where a partner could specify a set of materials that constitute a particular FlexPod for a long time. We’ve also done FlexPod integration – and done it very well – for over five years. These are things that Avnet is already good at. What was different about this project was that we said, let’s go back to the drawing board, take what we are good at and make it better.

 

Doug Smith: And it really came down to finding ways to take delays and obstacles out of the sales motion.

 

Desi Garavito: Yes, as we mapped out the sales process, we could see that, for example, having to register with more than one company not only slowed everything down, but it left both the partner and the customer in limbo while they waited for approvals. Now Avnet has removed the need for deal reg with Cisco and NetApp, the partner simply registers with us, and with a single approval the whole stack is registered with very aggressive pricing. We have eight configurations that are pre-approved. Similarly, we’ve taken delays out of the quoting, integration, and shipping processes as well.

 

Doug Smith: For customers, they also like that they get both flexibility and structure. Sometimes too much choice can seem too complex – overwhelming even. And while FlexPod can be designed any way a customer needs, many customers, wanted a smaller sub-set, with more definition and structure, to choose from. This approach gives them eight specific options.

 

Desi Garavito: Yes. It really comes down to, how can we best serve FlexPod for you?

 

Kristie Nedza: But what Desi and I want to emphasize is that the interest from partners has been enormous. We are seeing significant uptake right out of the gate.

 

Doug Smith: How do partners find out more?

 

Kristie Nedza: We have a quick overview video as well as a virtual briefcase, the FSA One Frameworks™ Briefcase, which provides partners with all the available resources. In the coming weeks, we will be offering demand generation campaigns, enablement programs, and trainings and webinars in support of the FSA One Frameworks™ program.

 

Doug Smith: Thank you both again. I’m excited to watch as this program unfolds. FSA One Frameworks™ – simply one more reason to consider FlexPod.

 

For more information on the Avnet FSA One Frameworks™ program, please explore the links above or contact your BDE directly at 1-855-GO-FLEXPOD or via email at FlexPod@avnet.com.

NetApp Staff