Access paints a new palette for VARs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – To be successful in today’s markets companies need to bring a new level of creativity, imagination and innovation to their businesses. This was Access Distribution president and CEO Anna McDermott’s message to resellers at the company’s recent annual New Frontiers partner conference here.

“It’s about creating something unique, a new demand, meeting unmet needs. And the result is a tremendous leap in value for you and your customers,” said McDermott.

As an example of the company’s own approach to growth opportunities, McDermott pointed out its recent partnership with communications vendor Avaya Inc.

“Gartner predicts 95 per cent of all industries will adopt Voice over IP in the next five years,” she said, adding that with the help of the partner community Access is looking forward to carving out a new area of technology expertise.

She said the company is also planning to announce new partnerships in the biometric space in the next five months.

To effectively align processes and focus around established and emerging technologies, McDermott announced two new business practices.

The mature technologies organization will oversee vendors in established markets, including servers, storage, services and software, whose technologies have reached a critical mass and have an established channel program.

Mike Hurst has been named vice-president of the mature technologies business. “We do see commoditization, price pressure and a lot of competition,” he said. “The strategy is ultimately to focus and address these markets in such a way that provides differentiation and allows us and our partners to be successful in a mature market.”

The plan is to understand “the golden nuggets of those markets, the opportunities of differentiation that allow you to excel in a market space, to maintain margins, grow profit and not compete based on point products or price,” added Hurst.

Engaging opportunities
The second new business practice is emerging technologies, led by Scott Zahl, the former vice-president of marketing and vendor relations.

He is concentrating on providing channel programs to vendors with up and coming technologies that are predicted to have a high impact on the market and outpace mature technologies in both growth and profitability.

The practice focuses on recruiting new customers and resellers in growth markets such as VoIP, wireless technologies and network forensics.

“It’s our intent to recruit new partners, we have invested a significant amount of additional resources in sales, business development and marketing operations to support this effort,” said Zahl.

Bradley Brodkin of HighVail Systems in Toronto is very pleased with Access’ Canadian market coverage.

“They allocate the right resources from Colorado (head office) to focus specifically on Canada, like an inside sales team and marketing tools,” he said in an interview.

Sun updates VAR program
Taking advantage of the resellers in attendance at New Frontiers Sun Microsystems introduced its new partner program.

Sun Partner Advantage (SPA), a global program with a consistent channel framework across all geographies, will replace iForce.

“iForce was very hardware-centric,” said Christian Primeau, vice-president of Partner Alliances at Sun Microsystems of Canada.

“The new program allows us to make sure we give partners the opportunity to put the right investment that makes sense for their business and develop a level of relationship with Sun based on what Sun technology they want to go to market with.”SPA will have four levels according to Primeau.

“Sun will align the leveling based on the relationship we have with the partner, what and where they’ve sold and the volume of business they’re driving from Sun.”

Primeau said it is important to respect and secure the investment that was made by existing partners. So all existing partners, he added, will be grandfathered into this program with the same accreditation that they had in the old iForce program.

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