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Stratus Technologies overhauls channel partner program

Stratus Technologies is making dramatic changes to its channel strategy. The company cut more than 80% of its channel partners and launched a fresh partner program.

Stratus Technologies, which has been selling fault-tolerant computer systems for 40 years, is amid a rebirth. As part of a corporate self-evaluation, the company drastically pared down its channel partners from about 1,500 to 280.

"Our goal is to work closely with fewer partners to drive sales higher," said Mike Bradshaw, senior director of global channels and partner ecosystem at Stratus Technologies, based in Maynard, Mass.

Recently, the vendor's focus has been on the Stratus Partner Program, which had grown in an organic fashion. "We had one program for North America resellers, another in Europe and a third for Asia," Bradshaw said.

Our goal is to work closely with fewer partners to drive sales higher.
Mike BradshawSenior director of global channels and partner ecosystem, Stratus Technologies

The vendor replaced the hodgepodge with a four-tiered program. Stratus uses the term distributor to describe a three-tiered partner model based on the level of support partners deliver to customers, rather than how much revenue they generate. The distributor tiers are the following:

  • Distributors, which market and sell Stratus systems but do not handle customer support;
  • Premium Distributors, which provide a basic level of customer support; and
  • Master Distributors, which provide full service for all customer issues.

In addition, the vendor works with resellers, partners who take their hardware and build special-purpose devices for select markets, like industrial automation.

Stratus equipment's high-availability features have attracted companies in industrial automation, oil and gas, financial services and healthcare. Stratus Technologies' ZTC Edge, which was unveiled in February 2018, is designed for edge computing. The device features built-in virtualization, automation and redundancy capabilities, and cloud-based system monitoring.

Partner enablement upgrades

Stratus has also updated its channel approach by developing an online partner portal. The new portal was designed to streamline lead management and deal registration, provide sales enablement resources and make it easier for partners to access to tools and training.

The vendor plans to revamp its partner training programs. "We are developing training resources that will help partners overcome customers' objections and validate our systems' total cost of ownership," Bradshaw said. Eventually, the vendor plans to introduce its first certification program.

Although Stratus recently reduced the number of partners it works with, the company plans to build it up moving forward. "Our executive team is working to fill any coverage gaps, and I expect us to have 300 to 320 partners [total] at the end of the year," Bradshaw noted.

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