Self-service and point-of-sale kiosk vendor NCR Corp. (NYSE: NCR) has launched a new global partner program, refocusing its partner designations and specializations as part of its effort to have a stronger indirect channel.
Headquartered in Duluth, Ga., NCR operates in more than 100 countries. Until now, NCR was managing and rewarding partners on a more case-by-case basis. “It’s hard to scale that way,” said Keith Dunphy, senior director of global channel strategy and programs with NCR.
The new NCR Interact Global Partner Program, which will roll out throughout 2012, will be global in scope, but with localized approaches based on culture and markets in various countries. “We very consciously made it a global program that is localized … appropriately.”
NCR’s channel management will remain the same, with local account managers, although they’ll be taking on accountability for ensuring this program is rolled-out successfully.
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The new program was designed following benchmarking and consultation with analysts, resellers and a management consultancy firm, Channel Enablers. “The role of the program is just to help us execute our global indirect strategy,” Dunphy said. “We’re creating this because from a global perspective… it didn’t exist.”
NCR will also be refocusing its partner types. Until now, the company had 20 to 25 different partner classifications, such as agents, dealers and different kinds of resellers. “We’re collapsing all of that down into standard industry definitions.”
For now, the company will focus on solution provider partners, which will encompass most of the 20-odd partner types including VARs, agents and other resellers. It will then focus on classifying distribution partners and managed services partners. NCR’s designations will include Authorized, Advanced and Premier solution providers.
The company will also expand its training programs and will create more relevant specializations for partners. “The specialization structure allows us to segment the partner base based upon the solutions they focus on,” Dunphy said.
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The specializations will include a competency side, with specific certifications in areas such as branch automation, but also a domain and expertise side for aspects such as customer satisfaction. NCR has not yet created specializations for types of customers, such as an SMB specialization, but that’s a possibility for the future, Dunphy said.
The training will likely be a combination of Webinars and face-to-face learning. NCR has yet to determine whether there will be cost involved for partners.
NCR also recently established the Global Partner Advisory Board, a group of 20 senior leaders from its partner community, representing all regions and verticals. The purpose of the group is to provide NCR with the ‘voice of the partner’ and provide valuable partner input on programs, policy and strategy decisions related to the company’s channel growth strategy. The board met for the first time in September and will continue to meet face-to-face twice a year, with conference calls as needed.
For partners, the move toward a global program is proof the company is invested in its indirect strategy, he said. “They’re still looking for the next level of detail.”