The Switzerland approach

The Switzerland approach

Specialist Vendor of the Year and Green Vendor of the Year - APC

Two-time winner at this year’s awards, APC, puts its substantial success with the channel down to two main factors – giving partners what they want, and helping organisations cut costs.

The power management company picked up Green Vendor of the Year and Specialist Vendor of the Year. APC managing director, Gordon Makryllos, said he felt those were the right accolades to be chasing as APC sees itself as the “Switzerland” of vendors.

“When Ingram Micro launched its Partner Technology Centre [in September], I was asked to speak on behalf of the vendors,” Makryllos said. “It’s difficult to put up one of the server vendors or one of the storage vendors or one of the communication vendors, because the competitors would have been upset.”

APC also presents itself as remarkably channel friendly. It does not have a direct business, even with the largest of customers, preferring to funnel such opportunities back into the channel. It’s a key component in building loyalty with its partner base, Makryllos claimed.

“Many of our competitors would prefer to go direct and use the channel only for the low-end, but we feel our model makes it a much easier decision for a partner to invest in us, because they know that if they’re successful, APC will honour the source of the lead and will not go direct,” he said.

APC has been very active in finding new ways to communicate with partners and customers alike. As an organisation, it has embraced social media, and it is actively sourcing case studies, having just launched a website to house them.

It’s an impressive effort too, going far beyond a simple ‘join the pack’ mentality. APC now boasts two Facebook entries for energy efficiency and datacentres, a LinkedIn user group and YouTube videos. Chances are that if you’re part of a social network, you can buddy up with APC.

And, of course, from a partner perspective, there’s the green angle that boosts APC’s profile, enough so that it was also voted Green Vendor of the Year. Here too, the vendor has remained close to its partners throughout.

“On the green side of things, we saw a bit of a need from our partners for someone to help them with energy assessment services, so we launched APC’s professional services, which we provide through our channel partners for them to rebrand and sell energy efficiency services,” Makryllos said. “This allows our partners to go and work with a customer to come up with the steps to move to a much more energy efficient datacentre.”

From a pragmatic viewpoint, with the economic climate of the last 12 months, few customers are interested in green solutions that incurred additional costs, so part of the success of APC’s various sustainability programs has been that they demonstrate a definite monetary benefit for the end organisation.

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Tags apcARN IT Industry Awards 2009


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