CA keeps faith with channel

The sentencing of former CEO Sanjay Kumar to 12 years in prison may have hit the headlines during the past month, but it has done little to distract the software vendor' s Middle East team from continuing its progress.

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By  Published  November 30, 2006

CA has just rolled out the latest instalment of its Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) programme for its top partners across the Middle East.

The company boasts a tight-knit community of almost 40 ESPs in the region, but their significance should not be underestimated.

Collectively they account for 85% of revenues, with volume sales delivered through distribution typically making up the remaining 15% of CA’s business.

ESPs have quickly grown to become a vital component of CA’s strategy since it launched full operations in the region three years ago with a goal to be known as a partner-friendly vendor.

Subsequent roll-outs of its channel development programme, ESP programme and technical enablement scheme have now been supplemented by another set of enhancements designed to make it more attractive for partners — and especially ESPs — to work with CA. Michel de Martigny, VP Partner Advocacy EMEA Eastern Markets at CA, said: “We don't want to have everybody as a channel partner. We want to have a few partners in each business unit and develop the business in that particular area. For that, we need high-end resellers, consultants, system integrators and solution providers. Our programme requires that ESPs develop the technical knowledge and consultant skills. From our side, we want to provide very strong pre- and post- sales service and support for our solution,” he added.

One new perk for ESPs is the creation of a business development fund, which allows each partner to accrue a monthly sum that can then be spent on marketing or other activities such as certification training.

A ‘channel marketing centre’ has been launched to give allies a one-stop-shop for generating marketing collateral, while CA is also giving partners access to sales and technical support tools that were previously only used by its direct sales force.

The most attractive addition for many resellers, however, will be CA’s new online deal registration programme. The system will allow partners to enter, track and update customer opportunities, but most importantly it will ensure resellers are giving some sort of protection for spotting a project first.

Once a partner registers and receives the approval, the opportunity is protected by CA until it is closed. The partner will then receive a 5% rebate. CA still reserves the right to reassign a deal to another partner it might think is more qualified, but if that turns out to be the case then the vendor claims the partner that originally registered the deal will still be honoured with the 5% registration rebate, plus an additional 5% reassignment fee.

The benefit of a deal registration to CA’s business is the prospect of being involved in the delivery process at an earlier stage, according to Martigny. “This is all designed to encourage our partners to work with us earlier in the cycle,” he revealed. “The earlier we can be involved in a deal on the pre-sales side, the higher the chance of success.”

The enhancements to CA’s programme are also set to have implications for other territories it serves, underlining the strides that its Middle East subsidiary has made.

Middle East and CEE boss Gilbert Lacroix — who has just been given responsibility for developing indirect channels across the whole of EMEA — admits that when the Middle East team initially began developing a channel scheme there was always a vision that it would be replicated elsewhere.

“Not only have we been asked to implement it in eastern countries, but we are now thinking of putting it everywhere in Europe — that’s how significant it has become,” he said. “The programme itself is now mature and it is going to become an important programme for the company. Our CEO declared a few months ago that the target is for 30% of CA’s business to be indirect.”

Few in the industry will probably realise just what an integral role the Middle East had to play when it finally reaches that target.

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