Sun Microsystems held its first reseller conference in Sydney recently, marking the start of a new dedication to its channel partners. Until July last year, Sun's appointed distributor, Mitsui, was responsible for all aspects of channel operations, while Sun itself handled direct sales. Under the new model, Sun hopes to offer better support to its partners while also cutting out some dead wood.
Sun's John Roker, national reseller manager, says the change was not a reflection on Mitsui at all. He said "Mitsui did a good job, but we found that we were at arm's length to our partners". Under the old system, Sun had more than 300 resellers, many of whom were "box movers", according to Roker. So many resellers, working without "any specific model", meant that there was a lot of infighting and "undisciplined competition". It also meant communication was slower than it could have been.
Under the new model, Mitsui retains control of warehousing and distribution, but Sun itself has instigated a program of training and accreditation which has reduced its count of resellers to "about 60". According to Roker, the reduction in reseller numbers was followed by a 25 per cent increase in sales, "which indicates that a lot of them weren't doing much".