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Networking vendors forge channel partnerships

Networking vendors forge channel partnerships

Recent vendor management shakeups and a struggling channel distribution chain are forcing better cooperation between two networking industry participants, a leading channel executive said last week.

Laurie Stevens, Asia-Pacific CEO of systems integrator Anite Networks, made the comments in light of recent management turmoil at Cabletron Systems that resulted in senior executives leaving the company to form a new support organisation for its Spectrum 5.0 product, known as Full Spectrum.

"I think the relationship between the vendor and the channel partners has developed over the last six months," Stevens said.

According to Stevens, vendors once viewed their channel partners as a necessary evil. The situation is changing to the extent that he believes the two industry groups are now on equal footing. "There has been a significant change in the attitude to the channel," he said. "Users see it as a more cooperative environment."

Vendors such as Cabletron increasingly rely on the product service, support and installation abilities of channel partners Stevens said. Cabletron itself makes no bones about its channel dependence. Ian Fewtrell, Cabletron's new managing director, recently said the channel is a key ingredient to the company's local success. He reported that historically it has been difficult to achieve volume sales from the channel, but its new partnerships were now boosting the company's market presence.

Meanwhile, Anite is forging a new relationship with Full Spectrum as part of its recently announced SmartCare and SmartView network service offerings.

But as Stevens explained, Full Spectrum, headed by former Cabletron boss Steve Dixon, will only look after service and support for Spectrum's installed base. "It is a pretty small outfit and doesn't have a broad geographical reach," Stevens said.

He also said Anite is still enjoying the benefits of its IS Networks acquisition earlier this year. The buyout is seeing the systems integrator working on major accounts with Telstra Big Pond, GIO and Air Services Australia, Stevens reported. "All Telstra's routers go through our test centre," Stevens said. "The main reason why we bought it was for its good relationship with government departments and private industry," he added.


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