Channel a key part of BlackBerry 10 strategy

On launch day of its new smartphone in Canada, BlackBerry is emphasizing the importance of its channel partners in restoring faith in the company and moving handsets to both existing customers and possibly new.

At the BlackBerry Experience Forum in Toronto on Monday, the company formerly known as Research In Motion continued its effort to educate partners and customers alike on what’s offered in the new platform. It’s just one more step in part of an ongoing effort to make the Waterloo, Ont.-based firm’s message loud and clear, says Rory O’Neil, vice president of product & channel marketing with BlackBerry. Education on BlackBerry 10 has been ongoing with partners well preceding launch day.

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“It’s a key part of four strategy that all channels are able to market to our customers,” he says. “The critical thing with this launch is to make sure those channels understand the proposition. We’ve over invested on training and education.”

The BlackBerry 10 Ready program offers enterprise customers and channel partners an online portal to a cornucopia of training materials. There are hundreds of webcasts offered in a weekly series, explanations of BlackBerry 10 Readiness programs, an offer for a free device to those who register for training, and an offer to upgrade a BES 5 server licence to BES 10.

One BlackBerry partner at the forum is set to deploy the new smartphones internally, but will be waiting until the end of the quarter to decide if customers should implement it. Tata Consultancy Services Canada Inc. has about 30 clients around the globe using BlackBerrys, says Aditya Sahni, business relationship manager with the Mississauga, Ont.-based VAR.

“With new product innovations sometimes comes problems early on,” he says. “We’ll wait to see how it works out form a user experience point of view.”

Different geographies seem to have different levels of enthusiasm for BlackBerry 10, he says. While Canada seems to be rooting for its native tech giant, other countries are taking a more passive approach to the new products.

BlackBerry was tight lipped on quantifying any pre-orders or disclosing incentives for channel partners to move handsets. But O’Neil says he’s seen “tremendous support” overall.

“We want to make sure every channel that touches those customers has the ability to position BlackBerry 10,” he says.

BlackBerry 10 launched in the U.K. last week. It will be launched in the U.S. in March.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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