Unified communications vendor, Polycom, will launch its first comprehensive partner program in Australia on July 1.
Polycom Choice is initially being rolled out in the US and Europe in April, followed by Asia-Pacific. Head of partner marketing for Asia-Pacific, Danister De Almeida, said its objective was to better channel relationships by recognising solutions capabilities and specific market knowledge.
“We have raised the bar with this program in terms of expectations, technology skills, marketing, resources, needs planning and preparation,” he said. “We have had a lot of elements of the program in different areas – for example, partner certifications – and we’ve always had partner training around Polycom technology and interoperability. We also had some marketing programs for demand generation.
“Polycom Choice is about bringing those together under a single umbrella and unifying our relationships with partners.”
Under the proposed program, the vendor’s channel will be divided into Platinum, Gold and Basic tiers. Each has scaled requirements around the number of sales and technical staff partners need to have, as well as competencies.
For example, at a Platinum level, partners must have seven technical staff able to deploy video endpoints and infrastructure, qualified sales employees, and internal support services skills. Gold partners will need four technical and four sales staff but can utilise some of Polycom’s back-end services.
There were also revenue targets based on the size of the market and its maturity, Almeida said.
Alongside the overarching structure, Polycom has introduced four new partner competencies, bringing its total to six. They are: Immersive telepresence, ATX (covering telepresence configuration and integrating multiple vendor offerings), video solutions, wireless, VoIP and AV specialist. The vendor claims all but one of its training courses are free to registered partners. It is also revising some training to focus on industry verticals such as healthcare and financial services.
“In the past, our certifications were more around the product as opposed to specialisations – for example, infrastructure or video ecosystems,” Almeida said. “Now we have moved to talking about video solutions and have a much broader solutions focus.”
The first stage of the rollout will be grandfathering solutions partners, systems integrators and larger telcos into the new structure, Almeida said. This will be followed by service providers from October 1, then distributors in the first quarter of 2011. The vendor has 70-80 partners in Australia.
Almeida attributed the initial delay of the program to the diversity of the Asia-Pacific region, along with plans to tweak it to fit the market.
Locally, Polycom has appointed a program manager and a dedicated channel marketing manager. There are also two heads in Asia-Pacific to operationalise the program, Almeida said. It is also investing in more online resources and hopes to provide additional case studies and campaigns through its partner portal.
Almeida flagged Australia’s forthcoming National Broadband Network (NBN) as a major opportunity for video-conferencing and unified communications solutions and hoped the combination of its new program and UC demand would attract more IP- and IT-centric partners to its ranks.