Michael Sotnick, the global vice president of channels and alliances for Pure Storage

Published: June 17th, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO – Now that Pure Storage has a country manager in Brent Allen and a channel chief in Jill Martin the next step is to double the headcount and double the business for 2018.

According to Michael Sotnick, Pure Storage’s global vice president for channels and alliances, the all-flash array vendor plans to double its investment from last year for the Canadian market. This will include an increase in the number of channel partners along with new internal sales people for Pure Canada.

Sotnick described the increase in partners as not being too extensive as they still wish to go deeper with existing partners such as Softchoice as they can deliver on a higher volume of sales. The new partners are meant to fill-in the coverage gaps regionally.

“I don’t have a specific point of view on the Canadian market, but there hasn’t been any market I’ve found where flash is not being adopted at a high level for tier one performance-based workloads in private cloud or hybrid cloud. The tipping point is way behind us in tier one and now it’s about unstructured data. The future is now,” he said.

These cloud-based workloads are one reason why Pure announced new software and hardware updates for its FlashArray line at the Accelerate 2017 Conference. Pure introduced the Purity ActiveCluster, CloudSnap native cloud integration, Policy QoS, VVols along with a complete NVMe DirectFlash Shelf inside its Purity//FA 5.0 solution.

Sotnick told CDN that Pure is taking a non-traditional path in terms of its innovation strategy and its channel strategy.

“Under my watch if we are selling the partner program ahead of the product, we have lost our way,” he said.

Pure has studied other – what the global channel chief calls “legacy vendors” – go-to market approaches and what he has found is they lead with their own brand even if it’s through a channel partner and they focus on higher margin products instead of looking at customer satisfaction. “That feels wrong to me. First and foremost, it should be about the innovation and then have a program that can back that up,” he said.

In terms of margin potential for solution providers, Sotnick said it’s hard to pinpoint a number but he did say rarely would Pure fall below the third spot in storage networking.

Instead of offering a back-end rebate Pure focuses on rewarding partners with improved gross profit for those who can win new business opportunities or capture new logos. There is no set-in-stone margin percentage on these front-end rewards.

“Our rewards have been designed to be front-end to maximize participation. Back-end programs we found to have mixed results in the amount of sales and in terms of partner participation,” Sotnick added.