Computer Associates Stresses VAR CollaborationBy Karen Schwartz | Posted 2005-04-04 Email Print
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Computer Associates' new plan seeks to drive more sales through the partner channel with the intent of increasing revenue.
In the next step toward creating a strategy that will increase sales while improving the bottom line for its channel partners, CA has developed a plan intended to drive more sales through the partner channel.
In a letter that is expected be sent to Computer Associates International Inc. partners Tuesday, CA executives outline the program, which stresses a named account model with new incentives for driving sales through the channel.
The new program will encourage most opportunities on named accountsthose accounts most important to the company, either because they have been longtime customers of the Islandia, N.Y.-based company or because their IT spending, revenue and growth make them particularly important accountsto be shared between CA's direct sales force and its channel partners.
Most other opportunities will be handled solely by partners.
For CA, this program is a chance for the company to increase revenues by partnering with solution providers for opportunities that may not have come its way otherwise.
"It will allow us to determine where partners can help us with projects that we may not have been asked to participate in because the customer might not believe that we would have the domain knowledge or reach to supply such a solution," said George Fischer, senior vice president for North American sales.
The named account model is the next step in an evolution of CA's distribution and sales strategy.
During the past year alone, CA has introduced several programs that aim to create more effective ways of going to market with its partners.
In January, the company unveiled its ESP (Enterprise Solution Provider) program, which offers high-end VARs, consultants and solution providers pre-qualified sales lead referrals, 24-7 technical support, best implementation practices and a dedicated field-based Partner Advocate Manager to help develop business plans, marketing and sales initiatives.
The company also introduced the Field Partner Advocate team last year, a partner-centric sales organization that resides in each geographic area of the country and acts as a bridge between CA's direct sales force and partners.
Although the company doesn't expect revenue to increase significantly from the named account program immediately, executives do expect to see CA's North American business expand as the program gains a foothold, said Gary Quinn, executive vice president for partner advocacy.
For solution providers, greater access to CA customers can translate into more opportunity, said Tony Ferrigno, chief technology officer of CIBER Inc., a Greenwood Village, Colo. systems integration consultancy.
"As they come across opportunities on those named accounts, they will come to us, where before, the direct sales force's sphere of influence was much greater," he said.
But the named account model is a step in the right direction for CA regardless of the increased opportunity it might bring, Ferrigno said.
"This is important to their commitment to driving business to the channel," he said. "They have made great strides over the past year or so, and this is another key piece in helping drive business to their partners."