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CA drops regional channel programs for global approach

The vendor says the new program will help partners transition to solution-based selling

LAS VEGAS — CA Technologies is consolidating its global channel program from four regional programs into a single, unified program worldwide, the company told channel partners at this week’s CA World conference.

The new approach will cut down on overlap and align CA’s partners with the company’s shift in focus from IT components to more complete solutions, said Eli Kalil, vice-president of global channel sales, in an interview with CDN.

“One CA, one global partner program,” said Kalil. “We don’t want four different CAs.”

Yet the company will still take regional nuances into account while melding the separate geographic programs into one, he added.

Effective April 2012, the program will also do away with existing gold, silver and bronze tiers in favour of just two new levels: premier and advanced. Premier partners must be certified on at least two or three CA solutions to get the highest level of sales support, market development and business development funds from CA, Kalil said. In addition, premier partners will be able to buy direct from CA while smaller partners will be moved to a larger CA distributor, such as Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions .

“We want to help (partners) make that transition from having a technology component discussion to a business value discussion (to address) the reason the customer wants to buy (an IT solution) in business input terms,” David Bradley, CA’s senior vice-president of global channel sales, told CDN.

Service provider partners will also have three flexible pricing options for customers: monthly utility pricing based on monthly variables and closely aligned to revenue; quarterly subscription based pricing; and upfront pricing.

“We understand partner business models are undergoing change,” said Bradley. “We want to be flexible on how those models change.”

PureSCM is a direct managed services channel partner of CA’s based in Victoria, B.C. The company said the merging of CA’s major regional channel streams into one global initiative probably won’t have a lot of impact on its operations or approach.

“We understand the approach and the optics may change but the business value brought by CA doesn’t change. We’re still trying to sell solutions and add value for our clients,” said PureSCM president and CEO Warren McCall. “As a partner, the most important thing is understanding how to navigate the leviathan CA organization and navigate those relationships (within CA).”

McCall noted his company actually pulled out of CA’s channel partner program a few years ago because CA’s sales quota targets were based on faster moving individual solution components. That made it hard for PureSCM, which mainly provides consulting services in virtualization and service automation, to meet those heady targets. PureSCM came back into CA’s channel program fold after CA made adjustments to it.

“(The partner program) seems to be much better and much more flexible now,” McCall said.

CA’s global channel program consolidation won’t lead to specific changes in the company’s Canadian strategy, said David Ridout, CA’s country lead and vice-president of sales for Canada. But sizing up CA’s plans for the Canadian market in the next year and beyond, Ridout said software-as-a-service should provide “big potential” for the company as Canada’s mid-size market in particular starts to mature.

“It’s a market CA has not done a great job of servicing and we need our channel partners to help us with that,” Ridout said.

The crux of CA’s Canadian approach overall is to strategically align itself with a few dominant partners such as Bell Canada, PureSCM, Empowered Networks and Siemens Canada. Though all of those partners bring different things to the table, they can all help CA move its own offerings in a Canadian market place that is still more cautious than the U.S. and other parts of the world, Kalil said.

“We’re not trying to be all things to all people (in the Canadian market),” Kalil said.

“We’re very focused on a very few large market (Canadian players) so we rely heavily on channel partners to do this,” Ridout added.

CA is also introducing a new cloud enablement program for its partners worldwide that includes sales, marketing, technical and consulting tools – such as the CA Cloud Choice Simulator — which can be used to customize cloud solutions for customers.

Although Cloud 360, a new cloud solution just unveiled at CA World , will initially be sold directly and then rolled out to the channel later, “we want to be highly collaborative and respectful” of existing CA partners in that process, Bradley said.

Follow Christine Wong on Twitter: @thatchriswong .