Las Vegas –Seeking to shed its image as just the $99 router company, networking vendor D-Link used the Interop conference to announce a new portfolio of enterprise-class products, along with a new partner program that will better support the channel as it takes the new offerings up-market.
The new Value in Partnership (VIP) program, which has launched now in the U.S. and will come to Canada on July 1st, is the result of a channel revamp began nearly one year ago when channel veteran Nick Tidd, now president of D-Link North America, joined the company.
Terry West, field marketing program manager, channel sales & solutions for D-Link, said probably the biggest difference partners will notice under the new program are around deal registration, the Bounty Rewards program, and increased marketing support.
“Unlike most of our competitors out there, this is not a revenue-based program. You don’t have to be doing X dollars with us in order to get these benefits,” said West. “We’re really looking to invest and grow our partnerships. If you’re a partner in a specific area handling a specific core competency with a specific vertical, and one of our initiatives happens to be wrapped around that, you know we’re going to work with you to create the appropriate marketing program that works for your organization.”
D-Link’s go to market revolves around five core strategies: switching, wireless, IP surveillance, security and storage. They’re also focusing on five key verticals: education, government, health care, hospitality and the enterprise.
“We’re trying to marry those five things together, get ourselves some really strong, solid partnerships from a North American perspective,” said West. “We’re going to work with those partners and provide them the appropriate sales and marketing tools and develop business with them so we can all invest and grow together.”
D-Link has built a partner portal powered by Salesforce.com to deliver the new program to the channel. The program offers “a really lucrative deal registration program, with anywhere from five to 11 per cent margin on government and education opportunities. West also said D-Link’s Bountry Rewards program is a unique proposition in the market.
With the program, if a VAR has done the heavy-lifting, gotten D-Link into an evaluation phase, and then the customer decides to pull back for budget reasons or go with a competitor’s solution or another VAR, D-Link will pay the partner a reward.
“We actually pay them a bounty reward, which is based on our MSRP,” said West. “It’s very lucrative, and helps them cover the costs of those sales calls and the investments they’ve made.”
The new program includes “a really rich” volume incentive program.
“This is real grassroots stuff. People haven’t been doing this for a long time,” said West. “We’ll pay anywhere from three to 10 per cent margin, based on the revenue objectives that we gain and work with on a quarterly basis.”
Customer and partner touch is also a priority, with the vendor investing in inside and outside sales reps, field account executives, and dedicated channel SEs to work with partners on configurations and pre and post-sales support. It’s a very high-touch model, said West.
As D-Link moves up to market into a competitive enterprise networking market, butting heads with companies with the install base of a Cisco and the portfolio breadth of an HP, as well as aggressive gainers such as Avaya, West said D-Link sees its competitive pricing model as a major advantage, as well as its open architecture that allows its offerings to be plugged anywhere into the network.
“Obviously with the economic times that we’ve all been going through over the last year, even the enterprise customer is now looking to see what the true total cost of ownership of a solution is, and what type of investment they have to make in getting that solution,” said West. “For those customers who are brand-agnostic and are looking for the open-architecture solution, they’re going to come to D-Link. A lot of people out there are saying while (Cisco and HP) figure it out and battle it out, there are people out there looking for an alternative, and that alternative is D-Link.”
The new VIP partner program comes North of the border on Canada day, and Mark Ciprietti, vice-president and general manager of D-Link Canada, said D-Link is committed to being a 100 per cent channel company.
“What’s new at D-Link over the last year with the new executive team is that it’s all about velocity to us, and accelerating our business,” said Ciprietti. “We’re more outbound and in front of our customers and the channel, bringing them both together on the opportunity. You’ll see more and more of our people out in the field.”
And what’s key for the channel, said Ciprietti, is that the cost of entry is not expensive with D-Link.
“We’re already utilizing the skill and the knowledge that the channel has today, and we’re extending it. We’ll educate, we’ll make the investment in the education and training,” said Ciprietti. “What we’re asking for is their skill and knowledge in the geographies they represent to take it outbound.”
New enterprise offerings
D-Link launched a number of new offerings at Interop. Among them is the vendor’s first chassis line, the xStack Chassis Series (DGS-8000). It’s a series of switches for core-to-edge applications in the mid to enterprise market, and boasts features such as energy-efficiency, scalability, maximum security, modular resiliency and high-availability.
Also new is the DSN-5000 Series of xStack SAN Arrays, boasting high-availability configuration, free firmware upgrades, a graphical user interface, energy efficiency and system virtualization. It’s available in three models and is optimized for disk-to-disk backup, archiving and video surveillance.Finally, the L2+ Unified Wired/Wireless Gigabit Switch (DWS-4026) is a unified switch and access point combination aimed at improving network performance for mid to large enterprises and service providers.