Three months after its parent company averted a financial crisis by taking
itself private, disk tape backup software and services vendor Tandberg Data
says it is looking to increase its investments in its channel partners.

The 100 percent channel company says it is looking to increase the ranks of its
strategic partners by 50 percent from the 70 it currently has. Tandberg Data
counts about 4,500 total partners in its channel partner program.

“Earlier this year our holding company was reorganized, and we are now a
privately held company,” says Scott Peterson, senior vice president of sales
for Tandberg Data, which is based in Oslo, Norway,
not to be confused with the other Tandberg, which does video conferencing.

Strategic partners in Tandberg Data’s channel partner program do $15,000 or
more per quarter in Tandberg Data sales. In exchange, they get additional upfront
discounts. Strategic partners are also eligible for Tandberg Data’s design
registration program, which protects deals and provides an additional 10
percent to 20 percent in margin depending upon the deal size.

Tandberg Data recently made several other improvements to the channel program,
such as taking the technical support hotline—available to resellers via a
direct dial number—back in-house. In addition, Tandberg Data’s internal sales
staff is charged with supporting reseller partners, since all deals go through
the channel.

Tandberg Data is also creating a set of packets for its reseller partners to
help them identify opportunities in the current economic climate. For example,
one such packet will focus on where to go for economic stimulus fund
opportunities. Another packet looks at opportunities in helping health care
organizations achieve compliance with new rules and regulations. These kinds
of offerings free up reseller time, says Peterson, so they can spend that time
going after and closing deals.

And then there’s the issue of pricing and margins. In today’s economic climate,
price is an issue for most IT organizations.

“From a reseller perspective, it’s important to have a price play when you go
into the SMBs of the world,” says Peterson. And he points out that
Tandberg Data resellers generally get about 20 points of margin while resellers
of some of the big players may only get a few points.

Tandberg Data is also offering up to 3 percent MDF accrual for new partners.
And the company is preparing a series of boot camps for strategic partners,
available over the Web, to help new partners get up to speed on the company’s
products and technologies.