In an effort to ensure quality through its channel to its customers, networking vendor 3Com ANZA has launched a new program it hopes will align itself more closely with its reseller partners.
The NetWorking Partners program is a worldwide three-tiered initiative designed to focus 3Com's services to the channel under a structured umbrella. Managing director John Halliwell said 3Com is aiming to reduce the cost of doing business with 3Com wherever possible. It will do this by ensuring partners have quick access to information, and aren't held up by product delays or warrantee issues. "We want to make sure that we reduce the cost of doing business with 3Com and not just give them extra margin, because often the margin ends up on the street."
3Com marketing manager Andy Hurt said that while the company already offers a number of services to its partners, these have been somewhat disparate in their delivery. "We will set up an arrangement to assist those partners in their marketing, sales and support effort, to ensure that their business is being run more effectively when they are selling 3Com," he said. "For a network provider, from choice they'll work with 3Com, because it is financially beneficial for them to do so."
Hurt said that as 3Com doesn't, and never has, sold directly to its clients, the new program should help to further ensure quality through the channel. "In a model such as ours where we don't sell directly, guaranteeing quality to the end-user is tough. So if an accreditation program and authorisation program is tough on the service and selling side, we're certainly going to raise the quality up a level."
The first tier of the three-tier program is Networking Partner, which provides resellers with access to basic services such as 3Com's help desk and sales staff, and is designed for resellers selling 3Com equipment at a component level.
The second level is Solutions Partner, which is designed for organisations selling 3Com's high-end products without being solely committed to the 3Com product set. These partners receive access to a priority level of lead generation, marketing and services.
For the final tier of Advanced Solutions Partner 3Com is seeking six Australian companies which will receive priority service from 3Com in return for making 3Com their sole supplier. "One major benefit is in support," said Hurt. "A high-end partner has an instant financial benefit with us through access to certain support logistics that we don't offer to anyone else."
Halliwell said the new program reflects 3Com's change in orientation towards enterprise-level system sales, adding that the channel is crucial in getting there. "We see the value of our partners to provide the solution, because people don't change their hardware for the sake of it. The value that the channel offers to us simply cannot be underestimated."