This week's Australian Reseller News front page represents something of a refreshing change. No Compaq story! In the previous three issues, stories about Compaq have led the front page.
None of these stories were particularly complimentary, culminating in last week's exclusive report on the disastrous channel consequences of the company's troubled SAP implementation.
Unfortunately, I don't think it will be the last story of its kind you see in ARN. Compaq is clearly struggling to get its house in order, judging from the e-mails ARN received last week from resellers dissatisfied with the service and delivery of equipment from Compaq. We will be addressing these concerns in the next couple of weeks.
It must be said that the problems Compaq is experiencing are far from unique. I've yet to see a merger of the size it is attempting without some degree of angst and pain.
That's little comfort to resellers, though. For it's the reseller that has to suffer the embarrassment when it is forced to go back to its customer and explain that the product it promised next week won't arrive until next month. It's the reseller who suffers most when a deal falls through because of that.
That lost order may be a drop in the ocean to Compaq, but it could be life-and-death stuff for the reseller.
With this in mind, it is perhaps surprising that most resellers contacted by ARN have indicated that they are likely to stick with Compaq. Even Digital resellers.
Riding the wave of success
But then again, perhaps that's not so surprising because Compaq's success has been great for the channel. Resellers have ridden the massive wave of growth created by Compaq in past years, and they aren't overly keen to drop off.
It's critical, therefore, that Compaq sorts out its problems as swiftly as possible, for the sake of all its channel partners. To me, the measure of success of any acquisition is not whether it hurts or not, rather it's how long it hurts for. ARN will continue to do its part and make sure Compaq is aware of the magnitude of the problem it is creating for its partners. As always, feel free at any time to drop me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or give me a call if you have grievances with Compaq - or indeed any other vendor or distributor. Remember, ARN exists as the mouthpiece of the channel community.
By the way, it was interesting to note that Compaq, which is notoriously over-distributed, dropped something of a bombshell by signing a new distribution agreement for its entire range of products with CHA. Speculation that CHA has been on the verge of being acquired by a company such as CHS has done the rounds for some time now. What does Compaq know?