JNA Network Services has become the first Australian company to receive accreditation as a Bay Networks Enterprise Solutions Partner (ESP).
JNA's manager of marketing and products, Bill Hayne, believes the accreditation will enhance JNA's reputation in the Bay arena. "We want to take a leadership position in terms of being able to put the right technology into people's businesses. So our position is to be the customer's advocate in selecting the technology. And if we're going to hold ourselves up to be able to be such, then clearly we have to have these very high level partnerships with the vendors like Bay Networks."
According to Bay's national channel manager, Martin Christmas, JNA is the first of an expected dozen ESPs appointed within 12 months. Christmas estimates that eventually 30 per cent of Bay's revenue will come via the ESP channel.
He says the Bay ESP program goes beyond assisting resellers just selling hardware, believing it is important for resellers to move into service provision to maintain profitability. "Whilst they may keep constant their hardware revenue stream, the average selling price and margin of products is reducing. And as a calculation, if the average selling price in a year drops 20 per cent, then the average margin drops 20 per cent, you have to sell over 150 per cent of what you sold last year just to make the same. Now the only way they can balance that is to try to introduce services into their business."
With a totally indirect sales mechanism, Christmas says Bay's need for a strong channel program is crucial. "What we are doing is outsourcing functions of our own business. If you look at the number of sales people and the revenue that we have, that tells you that we must outsource an awful lot of our sales function. We often call it the virtual sales force, and that extends to presales, post sales, services - every aspect of our business in some respect is outsourced through our channel."
To support the ESP program Bay is strengthening its internal support. "What we are looking to do is set up a channel development team, and these people will be focused on taking technology to the channel partners. This involves either talking to them about the latest switch or router modules, or the latest level of software code available; or we've just acquired company X and let me introduce you to their product set.
"We really want to be a business partner with these guys, not just some organisation that's come in with a program. The program is an element,we believe, of an overall relationship."