"If the customer wants it direct they will get it," Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq president and CEO said during his visit to Sydney last week.
"If they want it through the channel they can do that too."
Pfeiffer outlined Compaq's strategy of taking ownership of its customer relationships as part of its move away from its traditional roots as a PC vendor and into the contemporary world of the Internet.
Announcing the vendor's five-point strategy for Compaq's future in Australia, Pfeiffer outlined an operational model that "offered the customer a choice of service".
Pfeiffer moved to assure its channel that Compaq's vision to conquer the Internet market and orient itself to a more service-centric approach will only benefit the channel. "Our strategic priority is Internet leadership," asserts Pfeiffer, explaining that "our customers are looking for strategic partnerships and we have always partnered extremely well with the channel. That will continue into the future."
And according to Pfeiffer, this can only improve with Compaq's determination to enforce a maximum of four weeks for the delivery of inventory.
Pfeiffer is adamant that direct and indirect go-to-market models can coexist. "A first-time buyer goes to a retailer and Compaq is there. At the same time consumers will be looking on our Web site to see what Compaq can offer."
Yet the channel has reason to be concerned when Compaq initiates campaigns to give away free PCs in an attempt to tap into the large number of people who haven't yet bought a computer. "There have already been 1.7 million enquiries," claims Pfeiffer, who again tried to reassure the channel with the promise of money generated through consequent sales in related areas.
He claimed the channel has approved the revamped channel strategy as it is the result of resellers "working very closely with Compaq channel executives. It is a combined agreement model that develops rules of engagement."
To facilitate Compaq's involvement in this "Internet revolution", the five-point methodology stipulates that Compaq will be focusing on Internet-enabled enterprise solutions, Internet PCs and appliances, Compaq.com, its AltaVista investment and supply chain management. "The Internet is fundamentally changing the way businesses operate," enthused Pfeiffer as he planned for the company to surge away from its old image of a simple hardware developer into much more choppy waters, supposedly with the channel close behind him.