Nortel targets Experts with new channel plan

Nortel Networks wants to attracted a small group of highly skilled VARs with the launch of its Expert Advantage plan.

The carrot, said Oliver Gnass, the director of go-to market enterprise data network solutions for Nortel, will be compounded discounts, rebates and accrued marketing funds.

Gnass,

the former channel manager of Bay Networks, said if a VAR meets all of the Expert Advantage plan requirements it could net a total of 13.5 per cent extra margin on top of the margin it makes selling the equipment.

“”We recognize that business partners today have started to develop specialized skills and are building best practices inside their companies,”” said Gnass, the architect of this new plan.

The Expert Advantage plan will be a part of Nortel’s overall Partner Advantage program and is aimed at VARs who specialize in security, wireless LANs and Ethernet switching for campuses. The firm is only looking to recruit about 15 VARs for the entire country.

Gnass called this program “”bold”” because it moves the networking provider from a volume-based system to a value-based model.

Channel combat

Rob Finucan, president and CEO of Combat Networks Inc., an Ottawa-based network integrator, said the Expert Advantage program would be very important to his business. “”For us the recognition of value over volume will help smaller integrators. It will give us the ability to compete on value instead of how many truck loads of equipment we can move,”” Finucan said.

Albert Daoust, networking analyst for Evans Research Corp., said the program is well thought out.

“”It has nice discounts and lets hope they have some success with it. They understand they have to have a rich program because they have tough slugging ahead,”” Daoust said.

The Expert Advantage program will encompass products such as Contivity and Alteon switches, the Passport 8000 and 1000 and the BayStack line.

The discounts work this way:

• Expert includes two per cent discount in addition to Partner Advantage volume discount;

• Expert funds give partners another two per cent marketing fund accrued quarterly. This can be used for training, demo units and lead and demand generation efforts.

• Expert performance rebate is the final piece and that rewards partners by up to 9.5 per cent on a quarterly, mid-year and annual basis.

Also available will be lab discounts.

For the future, Gnass is entertaining SIP related products and an small-to-medium business market component.

Finucan, who has been a Nortel partner for more than three-years, acknowledges Nortel has a huge challenge ahead of them battling Cisco in the market place. “”Nortel is the No. 2 player and everyone knows this. To peck away at Cisco’s position you need world class products and you need quality feet on the street. Given Nortel’s situation with head count reduction this is an important time for Nortel’s channel to step up,”” he said.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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

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