18 month process to slim channel, vendor sheds one distributor and launches programme
Networking vendor Enterasys is nearing the end of an 18 month process that has completely overhauled its UK and Ireland partner programme and channel operations.
According to Mark Pearce, director of channels and strategic alliances for EMEA at Enterasys (pictured), the exercise leaves the vendor in a great position to exploit demand for high value, end-to-end solutions.
“When we started this process, Enterasys had a partner programme with in excess of 80 organisations with which we had had some form of engagement. In reality, we were only truly working with a small number of these. Therefore, going forward it was critical that we only focused on those organisations for which Enterasys was an important part of their business,” explains Pearce.
As a result, Enterasys has cut down that number to around 15 and will be dedicating more free training and certification programmes to the new slimmer channel. Although Enterasys does believe there is room for new resellers, the firm will only work with “focused” partners with value-add potential.
The vendor spelled out its channel strategy at its partner conference in Shannon, Ireland – the town also acts as the centre of its global supply chain group and an important finance and distribution centre for the firm.
At the event, Enterasys also unveiled its new IdentiFI WLAN portfolio which the vendor claims offers an important USP for the channel through inclusion as part of an end-to-end portfolio, all managed via a single database and OneFabric Control Centre. Enterasys points to a 50 percent-plus win rate in competitive WLAN tenders as Enterasys partners can also provide additional solutions to the customer such as switches, management or security overlays like Network Access Control.
Channel partners also received several positive announcements including a new competitive buy back scheme, specialised vertical market training, joint webinar campaigns around WLAN technology and the schedule for a nationwide roadshow focusing on BYOD and its impact on WLAN deployments. Another highlight was a new scheme to assist with WLAN site surveys to help partners reduce cost through what can potentially become an expensive undertaking with no real guarantee of business at the end.
“Now that we have a fully committed and supportive channel our aim is to increase the number of companies we work with, but slowly and carefully,” comments Pearce. “Never again do we want to find ourselves in the situation where we over-distribute with a large number of partners who we simply cannot service and support appropriately.”
The channel boss believes that this is a very different approach to its competitors such as Cisco and HP, who he feels engage with every VAR or SI there is at the expensive of profitability for core partners. “By focusing on a relatively small but highly focused and skilled group of partners we can keep margins high, keep customers happy and keep growing revenue,” he concludes.