Sun links ISVs with enhanced iForce program

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Sun Microsystems has beefed up its iForce program for ISV partners in Australia and New Zealand with co-marketing and co-sales support.

Sun Microsystems has beefed up its iForce program for ISV partners in Australia and New Zealand with co-marketing and co-sales support.

James Eagleton, business development manager for Sun's software partners, said he had designed a range of enhanced ISV support offerings for iForce software partners in response to partner demand.

'It's really about building a web of partners that support each other, as opposed to a traditional partner program that I see as much more like a hub and spoke model with all the partners interacting through the vendor,' he said.

The new support included tactical co-selling activities such as account mapping and opportunity identification sessions, online tools and resources, strategic sales campaigns and marketing programs including use of Sun branding and opportunities for joint promotion to Sun customers, Sun said in a statement.

The long-term aim was a program that built up trust between all the partners to encourage a symbiotic approach to products and to the market, Eagleton said.

'The way we used to do it, you made some acquisitions of some software, some middleware and some services. I think that's kind of run its course,' he said.

Eagleton suggested that with the rise of a new form of application service provision, subscription models and other interpretations of the on-demand or utility computing notion, relationships between vendors and other IT providers would be increasingly important.

Paul O'Connor, director of partner sales at Sun, said the vendor wanted to give its software partners more help in getting to market, whether they were startups with applications on the verge of commercialisation, or established companies with products that for some reason hadn't yet made it to market.

'They just need to have a software application to get to market,' he said. 'Partners are a critical part of our ecosystem ... We have obviously had a focus on this for a long period of time, but this program is really trying to develop best practice and give ready access to it.'

Information would be channelled through a website aimed at helping software partners find the best practices around business and marketing planning, for example.

'They'll be able to see who's who in the zoo. What account managers are looking after, and which ones they need to work with,' O'Connor said.

About 80 ISVs had already signed up for the new support, which would be offered alongside the technology adoption and technical assistance of the existing Global iForce Developer Program, he said.

'There's no firm target, but we anticipate 200 to 300 partners [signing up] by the end of the year,' O'Connor said.

Sun had four million Java developers globally but expected to soon have ten million. Some 20,000 individual Java developers were based in Australia and had gone through the existing Sun software partner program, O'Connor said.

Sun's iForce Partner community comprises system providers, system integrators, service providers, ISVs, OEMs and developers.


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