NEC regroups and woos channel

NEC regroups and woos channel

With NEC Australia reorganising its IT channel operations into a single PC-focused personal products group (PPG), the vendor claims that resellers can expect greater commitment.

According to Julian Walthew, assistant general manager, sales and marketing for the PPG, it's a long-thought-out structure, and reflects NEC's determination to work with the channel at a time when other tier-one vendors are moving away from it.

And the early reaction from some of NEC's channel partners suggests it still has some loyalty as well as some challenges.

Harry Snow, managing director of Commercial Solutions, a 13 year channel partner of NEC and one of its biggest resellers, acknowledged that the restructure addresses some inherent problems. "In the past, there has been division in the [separate] entities where it hasn't worked very well for us," Snow said. "The challenge for [the combined NEC PPG] will be to successfully market its products and support the channel as well as the other tier-one vendors," he added. And the NEC veteran was specific about one aspect: "The marketing, especially the advertising content, can be improved as there is a need to generate more product/brand awareness and demand."

Another of NEC's platinum deal- ers is Brisbane-based VAR Logical Technologies. Logical's managing director, Ken O'Brien, declared: "My hope is that it works, and that they carry out what they say." O'Brien sees Logical Technologies, which was last year named NEC's national dealer of the year, as being a significant part of the plan. He has no concerns about the mix of NEC's channel and direct (Corporate Network Solutions Group) business. "We're not against them going direct, because we'll still do the implementation and that will be great for our cash flow. Let them [NEC] wait 120 days for payment from some of these customers who want to have a direct relationship with the manufacturer," he explained.

Laurie Sellers, managing director of distributor Alstom, said he was more than happy with the restructure and to be working with the team. And there are immediate benefits for the exclusive Express Server distributor. "We'll have access to more products, and in particular direct access to monitors, which will make us more competitive than before when those products were internally transferred from the Home Electronics division."

Walthew described the announcement as the final phase of NEC Australia's reorganisation and said it will keep the company's local operations in step with NEC's international corporate direction.

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