Direct vendor sees channel light

Direct vendor sees channel light

Sterling Software has announced its first significant push to recruit channel partners to sell its storage management products. The move represents yet another vote of confidence in the channel's ability to bring unique skills to the table.

Sterling's business development director, Bruce Jenkins, said the company decided it could either build up its internal sales force or find resellers and convince them it had a good value proposition. "We need the channel to give us depth and breadth of coverage," Jenkins said.

The Sydney-based company describes itself as an independent software and services provider for the application development, storage, network and VM systems management markets.

According to Jenkins, the biggest challenge will be to find resellers and VARs with the experience and skills for the storage market. In particular, Sterling is looking for technical VARs and corporate resellers.

He said the channel will benefit through its ability to wrap hardware and services around the product to solve an application problem for their customers. Sterling generates $US2.5 million annually from its storage management products in Australia and expects the majority of it to go through the local channel.

Sterling also has a new reseller manager, Don Paterson, who will be dedicated to the channel, including both finding and managing resellers. Jenkins said a key part of Paterson's role is to manage the relationship between the channel and its direct sales force. "We are definitely gearing towards a channel model and we're determined that the relationship with direct sales will be successful to benefit the channel and allow us to grow."

Resellers already recruited in Australia include Dawn Technologies; Sterling also has an ongoing relationship with Sequent.

Jenkins said Sterling Software was a very acquisitive company, and as it acquired products through its network management arena it would be looking to sell those through the channel.

Sterling is constructing a full channel program which is due to be completed this month. It will cover areas such as marketing, product and technical training, demo systems and pre-sales support, Jenkins added.

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