SGI diversifies channel for mid-market growth

SGI diversifies channel for mid-market growth

Silicon Graphics has announced a massive overhaul of its channel and will launch a new partner program to grow its mid-market presence.

The high performance computing vendor is looking to recruit additional integrator, ISV and OEM partners while assessing the creation of a value-added distribution tier.

The new approach would help it to swing its predominantly direct model to one that relied heavily on channel sales, according to channel director, Darren Covington.

This was key to ensuring future growth, he said.

"Putting more feet on the street with a direct business is difficult, but with channel partners you already have scalablity and the infrastructure," Covington said.

A move towards the mid-market also spurred the transition, he said.

"We are transitioning our products away from large, proprietary systems with long and complex sales cycles to more standards-based products," Covington said. "We have found they are more channel-friendly and this has helped us to grow at double digits."

The new three-tiered Channel Connection program would feature four initiatives aimed at increasing low- to mid-range market performance computing sales, he said. These consisted of a Channel Connection Academy to provide training and technical specialisation; a Market Advantage program to provide marketing tools and funds; a Service Advantage offering to help partners build up their services business; and an Opportunity Registration facility.

The vendor would also continue its focus on the technical and creative side of verticals like manufacturing, energy, government and defence, science, research and media, Covington said.

"Companies like HP, IBM, Sun and Dell focus on the commercial side of those verticals, but there is very little competition on the creative and technical side," he said. "Our focus there allows the channel to differentiate itself."

Citing IDC figures, Covington said the global high-performance mid-range server market grew about 47 per cent in 2004 and was expected to do well again this year.

"A lot of our storage solutions are also horizontally applicable so we expect to also see growth out of areas like finance, business intelligence, telcos, travel and transportation," he said.

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