Hitachi Updates Partner Program with Specializations

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) has revamped its TrueNorth Partner Program to include four new specializations, the company announced this week.

The just-added TrueNorth Specialization Program comprises the Virtualization Services Specialization, the Migration Services Specialization, the File and Content Services Specialization, and Application Specialization and Vertical Solutions.

The first two specializations -- Virtualization Services and Migration Services -- revolve around Hitachi's Virtual Storage Platform (VSP) offering, which launched last September. Partners with the Virtualization Services Specialization receive education and training in VSP with the goal of increasing their customers' savings and storage assets. Partners with the Migration Services Specialization receive migration-specific training with a focus on VSP's tiering capabilities.

The File and Content Services Specialization is designed to help partners better navigate their customers' data storage problems by using Hitachi's Data Discovery Suite, Content Platform and NAS Platform.

Finally, the Application Specialization and Vertical Solutions addition, aimed at partners in vertical industries such as entertainment and health care, lets partners combine their customers' existing Hitachi environments with offerings from Microsoft, VMware, SAP and others.

HDS had previously offered a partner certification program, but according to Tonia Gonsalves, HDS' vice president of Global Partner Enablement, the Specialization Program gives partners more revenue opportunities "through additional higher-value services."

"With the new Specialization Program, partners can plan, architect and implement more complex value-added service solutions," Gonsalves said in an e-mail. "The benefit is this program allows partners to broaden their existing portfolio and sell more advanced services, helping to increase profits. It also gives them new bandwidth and opportunity for business and revenue growth."

Gonsalves said the specializations are open to top HDS partners, including Platinum and Gold partners and TrueNorth Distributors. HDS will roll out more specializations in the future based on feedback from partners, she added.

Besides the new specializations, the TrueNorth revamp will give partners access to lower-cost and more extensive training. Furthermore, qualifying partners will be able to participate in the TrueNorth Scholarship Program.

"The Scholarship Program funds or helps fund activities. It allows those who qualify to partake in all the training at a reduced cost," Gonsalves said. "This opens the doors for more companies to partner with HDS."

Other new program features include improved technical support, easier access to manuals and software downloads, and the new Global Marketing Bureau, which HDS describes as a "Web content syndication and lead-generation campaign creation tool."

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