As CA (NASDAQ: CA) moves forward in its journey to become more of channel company than a direct sales organization, worldwide channel chief Bill Lipsin has streamlined the channel group in many regions across the globe, including Canada.
As a result, CA Canada channel chief Pino Biase was left without a management job and has since left the subsidiary.
“Since I came to the organization, I’ve been trying to figure out how to align investment that will help benefit the partners more. We were management heavy and when I looked at the channel account managers, variable expenses and MDF funds, I shifted things around to get better at resource balance,” Lipsin said.
One of the keys to this streamlining will be a new channel partner program that will put more money into areas such as net new accounts, enhancing market presence, boosting margins, and enabling resellers to sell more services to drive a better value proposition.
The resource changes inside CA’s channel left some executives, such as Biase, without management jobs. Other executives moved into account management or territory management jobs.
“Not everyone likes this approach…I’ve very disappointed personally because I think Pino was a great voice for CA Canada,” said Lipsin.
Lipsin is trying to get newly appointed CA Canada general manager Jimmy Fulton more involved with all aspects of the Canadian market by having him look at all routes to market, and trying to optimize the resources for them.
“What has bothered me in the past is that we were in silos, where it was indirect does this and direct does this. A better approach is to have all these resources at my finger tips and set the right balance,” he added.
Lipsin said that the company is striving towards a 50 per cent indirect business in terms of net new. Currently, the company is at a third-plus in channel business. “It goes back to region by region. In the U.S. it is a challenge. In Canada it will happen. It already happened in Argentina about a month ago,” he said.
In fact, there are regions where CA is 100 per cent channel such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Greater China and Taiwan. The complexity of CA’s mainframe business continues to add a level of direct sales that other vendors don’t deal with. “It’s tough to find a partner that is mainframe compatible,” Lipsin said.
Recently, CA launched an Internet security specific channel program headed-up by George Kafkarkou. Lipsin wants to do more of these individual product programs for the channel and will introduce a similar program for recovery management and ARCserve later this year.
He also wants to get more aggressive with distributors and top channel partners. “They have more resources and we should spend more time with fewer partners, while using the distributors to support the network of partners we have,” he said.
Channel partners such as SoftChoice, ONX, Nexio, Empowered Networks will get more attention to help them grow faster with CA.
One of the first things Lipsin did as CA channel chief was to formalize new business planning with the partners. With this, the partner submits a formal business plan that both CA and the partner agree to. From there, both plan out the investment, training, margin and marketing. Then these plans are reviewed every three or four months.
“This is different than coming in and telling me what you sold. We can tweak it and we can determine if the original plan is on track or if it needs to be redirected. Or we can choose to focus on something else. It gets to be a pretty basic conversation and it goes back to attitude. I learned many years ago to find out what the partner’s business model is and make sure they have the capabilities, the strategy, the desire and the financial resources they need. It is about understanding the partner business and trying to help them accomplish it,” Lipsin said.