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Radware Ltd. this week launched a three-pronged channel program designed to give partners margin protection and engineering assistance.

Radware’s Channel Partnership Program mirrors the segmentation of the company’s Intelligent Application Switching product line. Radware offers products in three categories: application security, wide-area network connectivity and application delivery.

In those areas, the company makes security appliances, connectivity products that load-balance links to boost availability, and application infrastructure gear that provides server load balancing and acceleration.

The company’s evolution into the three product sets led Radware to rethink its channel approach.

“We needed to segment and focus the way we work with partners,” said Paul Fiore, vice president of channel management at Radware.

The competencies and cultures of partners working in security differ from those working in application infrastructure and connectivity, he said.

Accordingly, Radware engages partners “with business plans and certification procedures that wrap around one or more of those segments.”

Radware has created certification tracks for each of its product segments. To participate in the company’s channel program, a reseller must complete sales certification and engineering certification at the pre-sales level.

Engineers can also be certified at the post-sales and expert levels. Post-sales certification allows partners to implement solutions, but Fiore noted that some partners prefer to recommend rather than install products.

Partners who go through the certification process start at the channel program’s bronze level then progress to silver and gold based on revenue generation. Radware offers product discounts according to a certified reseller’s level, starting at 25 percent for bronze partners.

Radware’s channel program includes an opportunity registration feature. For example, a bronze reseller who registers an opportunity with Radware receives a 25 percent discount, and subsequent resellers pursuing the same opportunity get a 10 percent discount regardless of program level.

Kurt Loock, president of DPS, called opportunity registration “a way to either put margin back into the channel or allow the channel to maintain a decent margin.” DPS is a Cincinnati-based solutions provider and Radware partner.

“More and more manufacturers are doing deal registration,” Loock said. “That’s getting a lot more common.”

The program also provides a sales engineer “shadow” for resellers. Radware will provide a sales engineer to assist with a partner’s first five installations. The Radware engineers are provided at no charge to the partner, and the partner receives the professional services revenue from the engineering service.

Loock said the shadow program goes beyond standardized tests and lab exercises to address the “real world with all the variables. Our experience is that most customers have something unique about their networks, so every installation is different.”

Accenture gets CRM deal.

Accenture Gets CRM Deal

A Latin American publishing company has tapped
Accenture to deploy a customer relationship management system as part of a subscription management initiative.

Accenture on Tuesday disclosed a new eight-year agreement with Grupo ABRIL, Brazil’s largest magazine publisher. Under the deal, Accenture will design a subscription management process to more effectively support Grupo ABRIL’s 3.7 million-plus subscribers, according to Accenture.

Specifically, Accenture will replace Grupo ABRIL’s legacy systems with a CRM system built upon Oracle Corp.’s Customer Data Hub and CRM applications.

Agilysys and 360Commerce ally in retail.

Agilysys, 360Commerce Ally in Retail

Agilysys Inc. and 360Commerce will target the retail market in an alliance unveiled on Tuesday.

The alliance seeks to combine Agilysys’ project and support services with 360Commerce’s store- and workforce-management applications. Agilysys will also contribute hardware through its relationships with IBM and Symbol Technologies Inc. Agilysys offers IBM’s servers, printers and point-of-sale terminals along with Symbol’s handheld barcode scanners.

The arrangement will also cover development work, which an Agilysys spokeswoman described as connecting 360Commerce’s applications to existing retailer systems.

The alliance arose from the companies “noticing coincidental relationships,” according to Tom Fornoff, vice president of business development at 360Commerce. “We found we were serving mutual customers, then noticed our common interests in partnering with IBM and Symbol.”

The Agilysys spokeswoman said the companies recently closed a deal, but declined to identify the customer.

360Commerce, meanwhile, has crafted a plan to boost its business with partners. “Integrators are crucial to enabling us to provide more scalable services as our client and software license base grows,” Fornoff said. He said the ability to provide a complete solution via partners is particularly important to midsized retailers.

Fornoff declined to discuss the percentage of the company’s business that flows through partners, but did say that partners “account for a growing proportion of our business. We’ve committed specific growth targets to our board for both sales and delivery with partners.”

360Commerce also works with BearingPoint Inc., according to the company’s Web site.

Clinical transformation heats up.

Clinical Transformation Heats Up

Integrators are flocking to help health care providers cut costs, improve quality and, in general, re-engineer the health care delivery process.

Industry refers to that task as “clinical transformation,” which covers a range of systems, including electronic medical records and computerized physician order entry. Parties interested in this field include Accenture, Computer Sciences Corp. and Perot Systems Corp.

“We have a major effort in the clinical transformation space,” said Peter Altabef, Perot Systems’ president and chief executive officer, speaking earlier this week at a Wachovia Securities conference. He estimated that less than 10 percent of hospitals have the hardware and software in place to make electronic health records a reality.

The company employs 200 clinicians and 2,000 IT personnel in the clinical transformation arena and may be adding a few more. The company is seeking clinical applications specialists, among other skill categories, at an upcoming career open house, according to the company’s Web site. Overall, health care represents 47 percent of Perot Systems’ revenue.

Congress is paying attention to health care information technology as well. The Health Technology to Enhanced Quality Act of 2005 (S. 1262), introduced earlier this month, aims to provide $125 million in annual grants to health care organizations “to improve health care quality and efficiency through the electronic exchange of health information.” Those grants would be funded through the government’s September-ending 2010 fiscal year.