Looking to push deeper into the channel, communications/networking vendor Lucent Technologies has announced its planned new VPN alliance program which will provide bundled solutions for its channel partners to sell to their customers.
Bert Forbes, managing director of Lucent's WAN VPN group, Asia-Pacific, said it had a very clear vision of how it wanted to deal with its channels.
Forbes said the products from the WAN VPN division were extremely well suited to be sold to the market through the channel.
"Channel partners get us a large number of feet on the street," he said.
Lucent's VPN alliance program (VPNA) was launched in the US a couple of months ago and Forbes expects the WAN VPN group to be making a big push on it in the Asia-Pacific region from October.
He said Lucent recognised it didn't have "every single part of the puzzle". The new program will involve Lucent bundling its products with those from other vendors such as Sun, Trend Micro and Veritas.
"In a nutshell, we are aligning ourselves with other vendors that are complementary to the product portfolio in order to provide the full service through the channel to the end user," Forbes said. "In other words we are moving away from the box sale or a point sale and into the full solution."Forbes said it was planning to set up formal training programs in October/November. "And those formal training programs will include certification, training and the whole lot."There will be bronze, silver and gold levels of channel partners. Forbes said examples of added rewards included deeper discounts to VARs and resellers which were certified.
Charles Wellington, communications marketing manager at Express Data, said it was the master distributor for Lucent Technologies.
Wellington said bundling was one way of providing added value, with the aim being to provide VARs with more than just product. He said putting together a full solution for these VARs was a "much easier, more profitable thing for them to sell. So we'll be working with a number of partners in regard to pushing [it] through the channel," he said.
"If it was nothing more than a plug-and-play product it would sort of negate the reason for [using] resellers . . . They have to be offering something more than just a piece of hardware."Wellington said it plans to have a "very targeted marketing campaign". He envisages, in the short-term, Express Data working with about 10 niche players.
He said Lucent would be carrying out lead generation for these VARs with end users, and Express Data would be "working the channel very hard to make sure our partners are up to speed with these products".
Wellington said there were not many resellers left who were just selling products. "They're selling a whole solution," he said. "So we're trying to educate our VARs and help focus them on where we think the market is going."