Building a better channel ethic

Building a better channel ethic

Patrina Kerr has always wanted to make her mark in IT. However, when she started her tertiary training in programming in New Zealand, she soon realised that it was the people, not just the code, that made technology interesting. She spent 12 years in various business development positions before eventually moving to Australia as sales manager of channels at CA.

Tell us a bit about your background

Patrina Kerr (PK): My first role was technical support for a local software development in Wellington. I took a break for a year and travelled overseas. I visited Fiji and hiked through the national parks in the US. I also spent three months in the UK doing pub work.

When I came back, I started with Tech Pacific. I got my big break by starting the Corel NZ office, focusing on business development through distribution. I became country manager, then A/NZ manager with a staff of 14 people. For me that was the best insight into the channel across the broad spectrum.

From there I went to Microsoft in 2001. The company had started a new initiative called esolutions through an alliance with Telecom NZ and EDS to sell Office through the Internet. I was seconded to set up the channel for that venture, but the ASP model really didn't take off. So I took up the group partner manager role for Microsoft NZ.

I left at the end of 2003 to go on maternity leave. We moved to Australia, during which time I had a second child. I then started with CA about four months ago where I am responsible for all channel sales in Australia.

How is CA's channel structured?

PK: We have three local distributors. Ingram Micro does the consumer and commercial brands, which incorporate the licensing and enterprise products; Express Data does just the commercial side; and Saratoga does our consumer product series.

What has been your focal point so far?

PK: Implementing some really solid training and enablement programs for partners. We are putting value back into the partner program, recruiting partners and taking them through the first phase of enablement which is the most critical element. From a consumer perspective, we are trying to aggressively go after the retail market and find new routes to market. We want to recruit OEM, online and ISP partners.

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