As energy costs and a looming recession weigh on the minds of top executives
across many industries, integrated power and cooling services vendor APC
has beefed up its channel program and is taking its message on the road.

A full 70 percent of CIOs surveyed by Gartner named power and cooling as the
biggest problem in the data center, according to Marc Sherman, vice president
of global channel programs for American Power Conversion.

"It’s not just front-line IT people," Sherman said, noting that these
concerns are held by people all the way up to the top executives who are
actually allocating budget dollars to resolve the issue. "Solution
providers sense they need to respond."

And they should, Sherman said,
because it is a ripe opportunity for VARs to add new product and service sales
to existing accounts.

"This is not a point product," he said. "This lets them add
value and consult with customers. These programs serve as a blueprint for
partners to really go out there and solve customer problems."

here to listen to The Channel Insider’s interview with Rob McKernan, vice
president of North American Channels for APC.

To help partners do that, APC has
refocused from the inside out around what it calls six critical success factors
for the channel. They are:

  • Profiling—The company begins
    its relationship with partners by profiling them, starting by having them
    fill out a form on APC’s partner Web
    page and ultimately creating a dialogue with the partners about their
    current business and goals.
  • Alignment—Using the profile, APC
    will align each partner into the program structure.
  • Empowerment—The company’s
    program provides both instructor-led and e-learning opportunities covering
    technology and sales.
  • Enablement—APC
    is giving partners access to sales and marketing tools, plus providing direct
    support to all partner tiers.
  • Collaboration—The company has
    created an online partner community.
  • Profit—APC
    said its program will offer partners greater rewards based on their
    commitment to APC.

The multitier partner program offers Registered, Basic, Select, Premier and
Elite levels, Sherman said, with
the Premier available to partners that specialize in areas such as small and midsize
data centers, mechanical issues or cooling. Elite is focused more on data
center environments, he said.

APC has also announced that it is taking its
executives and industry analysts on the road to talk to channel partners and
potential channel partners about the growing opportunities relating to power
and cooling.

The "Capitalize 2008" Executive Partner Summit tour for solution
providers will visit the following cities:

  • Santa
    Clara, Calif. – April 22
  • Costa
    Mesa, Calif. – April 24
  • Boston
    – May 1
  • Washington
    D.C. – May 6
  • Detroit
    – May 8
  • Chicago
    – May 13
  • Dallas
    – May 15
  • Toronto
    – May 29
  • New
    York – June 5
  • Atlanta
    – June 19

The company kicked off the tour with a session in St.
Louis on March 26, and about 90 percent of the
attendees were existing partners, Sherman
said. But APC is looking to recruit new
partners too, he added.