Access control vendor RSA Security has begun migrating its existing one-tier distribution model to a two-tier model, appointing Express Data and LAN Systems, in an attempt to better prepare the company and its channel for a big jump in the security market.
According to Richard Turner, vice president of RSA Security Asia Pacific, the vendor took a long look at its distribution model towards the end of last year before deciding changes had to be made.
Previously the 10 or so certified RSA partners operating in Australia purchased directly from the vendor, which RSA felt could limit its growth as the market expands rapidly towards the end of the year - in line with its predictions.
"Rapid growth puts pressure on the channel, and what we didn't want to do was cause channel conflict," says Turner.
"Distributors add value for us because they hold stock where we don't; it takes them one day to deliver, where it takes us three. We're a vendor, and like most vendors we're not logistics experts. So we thought we'd leave that to distributors who are much better at logistics, and spend more of our time with partners and customers, generating leads and business," Turner told ARN.
As such, volume distributor Express Data and specialist network distributor LAN Systems have been signed as RSA's national suppliers. Turner sees established RSA partners purchasing off Express Data for high turnover products, with emerging partners and more complex business solutions sold through LAN Systems.
Turner believes the transition period will be finalised towards the end of this quarter, with all RSA partners purchasing from either of the two distributors.
Turner admits the migration to a two-tier model has raised a few eyebrows from the security vendor's larger partners, who valued the direct vendor-reseller relationship. However, he also attests that most partners will see dividends from the new model more quickly, as it frees up RSA from back-end administration tasks and allows it to concentrate on marketing the product.
"You have to make the transition from selling to the reseller, to selling with the reseller," says Turner. "The relationship with [most resellers] is the best it's ever been."
Turner is also looking to grow the company's authorised channel by around 10-15 resellers by year's end, but stresses RSA market growth, not reseller numbers, will govern this figure.
In related news RSA has appointed Katrina Mar as its channel development manager for Australia and New Zealand, in a bid to strategically tailor its channel program to the local market and recruit more channel partners. Mar's previous experience as the channel manager for financial software vendor Sybiz, and software vendor Novell, leaves her well placed to solidify current partnerships and expand RSA's reach.
According to Mar, RSA is using its traditional base in government and finance industries to expand into new verticals such as pharmaceuticals and logistics. Mar attributes much of this shift in focus to a series of acquisitions, including the purchase and incorporation of security vendor Xcert.
Although Mar indicated interest in expanding the number of RSA partners, she would not confirm how many she planned to appoint.