Compaq confirms dreaded direct dealings - New model in place

Compaq confirms dreaded direct dealings - New model in place

It's the news the channel has dreaded hearing from Compaq.

And Greg Healy, the company's general manager for business and consumers, has now said it.

"Customers want direct relationships and we're going to deliver that."

But while Compaq has big changes planned for both its product-to-market and channel strategies, Healy claimed last week that opportunities for its partners will actually multiply post-integration.

"Everything we're doing is about growing the business and if we do that, it's good for the channel," he said. "But as a vendor, to be completely reliant on the channel and assume everything will get done is no longer viable.

"So while we don't want to duplicate the efforts of our channel, we want to ensure we provide a better quality of relationship to our customers, and that involves having a direct relationship with anybody that wants to have a direct relationship with Compaq."

However, Healy maintains the channel will still be vital to Compaq's success in dealing with customers directly.

"Alpha-based and Intel-based products will only be fulfilled through the channel, even in enterprise accounts," Healy said. "But fulfilment is just the entry point - the channel will also play a vital role in providing expertise and services on top of the products."

But again, the bugbear for the Australian channel is that Compaq itself will also look to sell these systems.

"Compaq Services will take a slice of channel revenues because we're going to have global disciplines in the integration area that we'll actively pursue and we'll communicate those to the channel," Healy admitted.

"The role of Compaq Services is to stand alone in its own right as a profitable organisation, but more importantly to leverage product delivery and product delivery services.

Rapid growth

"There will be so many areas that we need to have services added to products and as the product business is transacted through the channel, it is in both Compaq's and our channel's best interests for us to pursue rapid growth across the company, including Compaq Services."

As part of the post-integration strategy revamp, which is scheduled for completion by the start of next year's second quarter, Compaq is dividing its channel into four categories: consumer, platform, solution, and consulting partners.

The categories will be allocated according to each channel partner's area of core competency, and networking among the different types of providers will be nurtured, according to Healy.

"Previously we looked at our channel from a product perspective but we're now looking at them more by market access," he said. "But we also need to ensure we deliver customer satisfaction by having the organisation that designs that configuration and installs and maintains it, knowing what they're doing.

"So getting an environment where we encourage partnering between the different classifications of channel partner is fundamental."

Healy said both the channel and Compaq will be responsible for facilitating these interdependent partnerships.

Compaq has also begun rolling out its channel extranet called CPN (Compaq Partner extraNet) to its distributors.

The extranet will be linked to Compaq's internal SAP system prior to it being rolled out to the company's indirect partners.

The final phase of the project will be to increase CPN's functionality to include features such as online ordering.

Healy said development of a similar extranet for customers in the future is also likely.

To qualify for the final list of channel partners, Healy claimed organisations will need to demonstrate five key qualities: financial stability; the desire, ability and discipline to grow; a focus on delivering customer satisfaction; a viable market proposition and value-add strategy; and a desire to work with the new-look Compaq.

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