Software maker Computer Associates announced Feb. 27 that it would begin migrating thousands of named accounts to the channel from direct sales, as the vendor seeks to leverage the business expertise of partners.

CA was unable to provide firm numbers, but it would be several thousand customers, most starting at the small end of the sales spectrum, said James Hanley, senior vice president for worldwide partner sales.

The strategy is to push more of the sales effort—especially in the small and midsize business markets—to partners where VARs provide better coverage geographically and vertically, Hanley said.

“In this play, we recognize that the business acumen of the channel provides better value,” Hanley said.

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“It provides customers with better service, more solutions, more comprehensive solutions and better coverage by leveraging the channel.”

Hanley characterized the measure as the third step in a yearlong process that includes increased demand generation and deeper sales technical training for partners.

“You have to do the demand generation; you have to do the partner development; then you have to make the territory available to them to sell,” he said. “I’m not sure we could have done this a year ago.”

The software company went to a named account system last April as part of an increased focus on the channel.

The migration from direct to indirect sales will be guided by the best interest of the customer with regard to which VARs serve them best by geography, CA product and vertical.

The direct sales resources saved from moving clients to indirect channels will be used to provide deeper coverage to bigger accounts, Hanley said.