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Partner programme upheaval: Who is unearthing treasures?

Partner programme upheaval: Who is unearthing treasures?

While most partnership programmes focus mainly on the sales community, RSA is developing a local initiative to support presales technical professionals. “I am a firm believer that the partner presales community is fundamental to a successful partner programme,” says Teague. “We are complementing the global programme with RSA Elite Forces locally. This targets trained technical partners, awarding them for positioning themselves to sell our product. It is a new four-tier programme, with each tier based on particular behaviour.

Elite Forces has become RSA ANZ’s most active programme. “There is a lot of change in the market itself,” says Teague. “As you move into a different computing environment, the rules change, resulting in a whole new dynamic. This means that more information is required.”

In the printing area, Hewlett Packard launched a new channel partner programme last November, focusing on print specialisation. “The new programme enables channel partners to sell contract-based printing solutions to the mid-market,” says Imaging and Printing group market development manager Sian Leigh. “Resellers that join our partner programmes have the opportunity to build long-term service relationships with their business customers.”

The new programme provides HP channel partners with:

• The ability to create additional revenue and annuity streams

• Improved customer ‘stickiness’

• Access to specialised sales tools

• Additional rebates

• Access to HP technical presales resources

• Certification and accreditation

• Access to targeted lead generation programmes.

“The programme is made up of three levels: The HP Smart Print Services (SPS) Programme, the HP Partner Print Services (PPS) Programme, and the HP Office Print Solutions (OPS) Partner Programme,” says Leigh. “The SPS programme can be accessed by any of our channel partners and requires no previous partner service experience with us. The PPS programme requires the channel partner to have a basic level of service experience and a help desk service to manage the engagement. The OPS programme requires the most commitment from our resellers, but also provides high rewards. Resellers need to have fulfilled specific criteria and have advanced service and fleet management experience.”

HP also supports its partners by holding regular partner events. These range from networking opportunities through to training. The print specialisation programme just held its initial launch event, where partners were able to meet each other and engage in discussion about the programmes.

“As the programmes grow, we will be looking to host partner events on a monthly basis so our resellers can network, discuss the market and how HP can be of further assistance,” says Leigh. “We offer discounts and support at varying levels dependent on the programme our resellers enter into. But more than that, we are running partner programmes because we have found that there needs to be more awareness rather than incentives to buy.”

Juniper Networks provides a range of partner programmes in its J-Partner series, based around either market or the business model resellers employ to address that market.

“The newest part of our programme is a service element,” says partner sales director Rob Finn. “This is designed to allow our partners to build services best practices. Juniper doesn’t compete with its partners for service business. They can provide design, implementation, and post-sales services. We enhance the services our partners deliver. Two of the newer programs are design specialisation (available next month), and implementation specialisation. Our programme is to share best practices with partners to implement a Juniper solution, rather than competing with partners.“

All of Juniper’s local revenues are directed through the partner community. “When we consider partner selection, we look for existing service organisations, and are willing to invest in that,” says Finn. “We are looking for partners that can differentiate themselves in services. We run a lot of programmes with distributors, tailored to the partner level. There is a pricing advantage to partners, based on level. This protects the investment of certified partners.”

For partner training, Microsoft has more than 15,000 online and live learning events.

“Locally, we hold a variety of events for our partners, from casual drinks to webcasts and one-to-one sessions,” says Colbert. “In addition, each year we hold the Microsoft Partner Awards, a black-tie event which recognises the best work by our partner community.“

The Microsoft Partner Network gold certifications are currently the company’s most active programmes. A variety of changes are planned for the Network over the coming year. “Our vision for the Microsoft Partner Network is simple,” says Colbert. “It is to provide partners with opportunities to strengthen their organisational and people capabilities, expertise to help them serve their customers better, and communities that spark innovation and connection. This means we will be changing the certification areas and qualifications in the coming months. Partners are encouraged to contact us for more information on the shift.”

IBM has one of the largest business partner communities in the industry. “Our business partners are vital to IBM’s business,” says IBM’s New Zealand channels manager Raymond Skoglund. “IBM is committed to efficient, collaborative and mutually profitable relationships with our business partners, and across our business partner ecosystem. This is particularly true in the mid-market, where business partners are IBM’s principal route to market.”

PartnerWorld is IBM’s worldwide programme for IBM Business Partners. It offers sales, marketing, technical, training and collaboration benefits to create opportunities designed to help partners grow their business and drive increased profits. IBM can help resellers enter new markets, create new business opportunities and increase their revenue, and IBM Business Partners have access to support from IBM experts as well as to industry leaders who can help them build business through expansion into new markets.

There are three PartnerWorld membership levels: Member, Advanced and Premier. Partner support includes Channel Chat teleconferences, webcasts, sales and technical enablement road shows, and distributor enablement. “We also offer business partner technical representatives the opportunity to attend technical advocacy sessions designed to take a deep dive into some of IBM’s most exciting technology,” says Skoglund.

Training programmes include the IBM Channel University, which provides sales and pre-sales technical training for business partners in New Zealand and Australia. The IBM Top Gun training series is designed to increase sales, solutions, competitive and technical skills for IT industry professionals.

“IBM is continuing to invest in business partner reward and incentive programmes at a time when many companies are reducing spending on such things,” says Skoglund. “For example, we host an annual recognition event for top Business Partners and the 2010 event will be held at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.”

Award programmes also bolster partner relationships. Throughout the year, the Know Your IBM programme delivers rewards to IBM Business Partners through an interactive, online programme designed to foster IBM presence and brand loyalty. The company also offers local and global awards programmes.

“IBM has three main focuses for its partner programme in 2010,” says Skoglund. “These are to be the leader in mid-market; to be the partner of choice across the industry; and to be the number-one provider of integrated solutions via our business partners.”

EMC’s RSA security division uses a partner certification programme that is designed to encourage partners to develop their skills and work closely with RSA. The programme is based on training and then enabling partners. “Our Secured Partner programme, launched in May last year, is continuing to roll out growth with good success,” says ANZ channels and alliances manager Phil Teague. “Its structure is progressive rewards, with three tiers: Access, Solution, and Signature Partner. Rewards are based around partners becoming more focused on our solution set. Sales targets are developed jointly with the partner, and the partner gets rebates and cooperative rewards. As a company moves up to Signature Partner, the percentage given in rewards improves.”

While most partnership programmes focus mainly on the sales community, RSA is developing a local initiative to support presales technical professionals. “I am a firm believer that the partner presales community is fundamental to a successful partner programme,” says Teague. “We are complementing the global programme with RSA Elite Forces locally. This targets trained technical partners, awarding them for positioning themselves to sell our product. It is a new four-tier programme, with each tier based on particular behaviour.

Elite Forces has become RSA ANZ’s most active programme. “There is a lot of change in the market itself,” says Teague. “As you move into a different computing environment, the rules change, resulting in a whole new dynamic. This means that more information is required.”

In the printing area, Hewlett Packard launched a new channel partner programme last November, focusing on print specialisation. “The new programme enables channel partners to sell contract-based printing solutions to the mid-market,” says Imaging and Printing group market development manager Sian Leigh. “Resellers that join our partner programmes have the opportunity to build long-term service relationships with their business customers.”

The new programme provides HP channel partners with:

• The ability to create additional revenue and annuity streams

• Improved customer ‘stickiness’

• Access to specialised sales tools

• Additional rebates

• Access to HP technical presales resources

• Certification and accreditation

• Access to targeted lead generation programmes.

“The programme is made up of three levels: The HP Smart Print Services (SPS) Programme, the HP Partner Print Services (PPS) Programme, and the HP Office Print Solutions (OPS) Partner Programme,” says Leigh. “The SPS programme can be accessed by any of our channel partners and requires no previous partner service experience with us. The PPS programme requires the channel partner to have a basic level of service experience and a help desk service to manage the engagement. The OPS programme requires the most commitment from our resellers, but also provides high rewards. Resellers need to have fulfilled specific criteria and have advanced service and fleet management experience.”

HP also supports its partners by holding regular partner events. These range from networking opportunities through to training. The print specialisation programme just held its initial launch event, where partners were able to meet each other and engage in discussion about the programmes.

“As the programmes grow, we will be looking to host partner events on a monthly basis so our resellers can network, discuss the market and how HP can be of further assistance,” says Leigh. “We offer discounts and support at varying levels dependent on the programme our resellers enter into. But more than that, we are running partner programmes because we have found that there needs to be more awareness rather than incentives to buy.”

Juniper Networks provides a range of partner programmes in its J-Partner series, based around either market or the business model resellers employ to address that market.

“The newest part of our programme is a service element,” says partner sales director Rob Finn. “This is designed to allow our partners to build services best practices. Juniper doesn’t compete with its partners for service business. They can provide design, implementation, and post-sales services. We enhance the services our partners deliver. Two of the newer programs are design specialisation (available next month), and implementation specialisation. Our programme is to share best practices with partners to implement a Juniper solution, rather than competing with partners.“

All of Juniper’s local revenues are directed through the partner community. “When we consider partner selection, we look for existing service organisations, and are willing to invest in that,” says Finn. “We are looking for partners that can differentiate themselves in services. We run a lot of programmes with distributors, tailored to the partner level. There is a pricing advantage to partners, based on level. This protects the investment of certified partners.”


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