Sun Microsystems Australia is seeking to get closer to its channel partners by taking back a number of the functions previously provided by its distributor Mitsui Computer.
According to Sun's national manager for partner sales Noel Pettitt, the changes follow research conducted by Sun and Mitsui. "I think what we found over time, particularly as we go into new markets such as the Internet and intranets, is that we need to make sure that our reseller channel is very closely aligned with what we are doing," said Pettitt. He added that these areas are bringing large numbers of new players into the marketplace, and it is important that Sun is able to effectively identify and recruit them.
Under the new arrangement Sun will provide technical support and account management for resellers, said Pettitt. "Mitsui will still remain our singular authorised distribution centre in Australia, and they have the warehousing, distribution and credit control functions," he said.
"But basically we're picking up identification, recruitment, training and development, promotion, measurement and account management."
Sun will be putting on additional staff in order to cope with the increased workload, both at the head office and on the technical side.
Pettitt said in no way does the new arrangement represent a falling out with Mitsui, with whom Sun has been very happy. "Our goal was not to do anything radical," he said. "Our goal was to be looking where the channel was at the moment. We don't have any issue with the performance of the channel to date, in fact it's gone very well."
He also expects that the changes will have no effect on Mitsui's revenue. "The end result is that the same revenue flows through the channel, with the same bottom line result for Mitsui. We've actually taken a component of the cost and moved that over to Sun, and then taken a component of the spoils as well." Pettitt describes the changes as being bottom line and top line neutral for both companies.
Further changes to the Sun channel will come towards the middle of the year, when Sun rolls out its new accreditation program. Pettitt said the program is still being finalised, with details to be released to the channel closer to the time of implementation.