Hitachi Vantara brought in Kimberly King earlier this year, as vice president, global partner strategy and programs, to build and launch a new partner program.
The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., formed in Septmber to unify the operations of Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group and Pentaho. King is no newcomer to the channel, having worked at Progress Software and Compuware in senior channel roles that required fortifying the channel partner strategy at those vendors.
In April, the company launched the Hitachi Vantara Partner Program. It moved 1,700 partners into the new program.
Channel Partners caught up with King to talk about the company’s new partner program, partner opportunities, and her goals for Hitachi Vantara and partners.
Channel Partners: Hitachi Vantara had a partner program prior to you joining the company. What needed to change?
Kimberly King: Yes, Hitachi had a partner program, called the TrueNorth Partner Program, and it was very much based on transactional relationships with partners around the world. It was a very solid program more aligned around a storage resell model as opposed to a solution or business outcome model.
So when I was brought into Hitachi Vantara they asked me to look into a more encompassing program that allowed us to identify how we work with partners more holistically, and how we shape our relationship with our partners based on alignment of business models and commercial interests — and not transactions.
So, everything we’ve done and build into the last few months – and we launched it in April – is based on that business model, business outcome and understanding how our partners go to market and aligning with them that way. Every month since the launch we continue to enhance it.
CP: Tell us more about the new partner program.
KK: The new program is called the Hitachi Vantara Partner Program and it was built from the ground up. I tend to work for companies that want to realign or reimagine their partner programs, build them from the ground up and identify the best way to work with partners.
Our goal was to make the program future-proof. What I found when I got to Hitachi [were] five distinct partner programs aligned behind types of partners; we had a GSI program, a resell program, a services program, a service provider program and acloud program. Each of these programs had different goals and objectives; [they weren’t] aligned.
I completely eliminated that and now we have one simple program for all partners that we believe is agile and has a future-proof foundation that’s based on the partner’s business model.
The program is based on how we drive solutions, and not products. Everything we build now is about that solution so, internally, we rebuilt our joint business planning process that focuses on core initiatives, solutions, route to market and …