The spate of revamped channel programs continues, with networking vendor Alcatel currently in the process of rolling out its Business Partner Program in Australia.
The program is being launched worldwide. In Australia there will be three tiers: certified, expert and premium business partners. John Lagos, national channels manager for voice at Alcatel Australia, envisages that in addition to its certified partners, there will end up being about 10-12 expert business partners and two to three premium level partners.
"Rather than developing quantity [of resellers], which is the box-moving world, we considered developing the quality of our partners," Lagos said. "That's why we've been very careful in the selection process."
Part of this new channel strategy will involve having a master distributor through which Alcatel Australia's certified business partners will access its product. Lagos said it was currently in the process of appointing a master distributor, which he hopes will be finalised by the end of June.
Direct access to Alcatel's headquarters for its expert and premimum partners, as well as its master distributor, is one of the differentiators Lagos sees for its new program. As is local support and the backing of the Alcatel logo.
It is not a once-and-for-all certification either, according to Alcatel. Under the new channel program its partners undergo regular quality audits.
Brian Bird, key account manager, voice channels, for Alcatel Australia said this was so that end users know reseller's skills are up-to-date. "Again, protecting the integrity of the logo and the skills," Bird said.
"The qualification depends on a series of things including their technical expertise. And, more importantly, their service practices," Bird said. "Their service policies must be in line with our expectations - lead times and being able to maintain spare parts - they have to demonstrate the capability to do that because we expect where the logo is displayed a guaranteed level of service is guaranteed [to the end customer]."