CA tries to bring clarity to its channel program

Computer Dealer News – With a direction towards the hot virtualization market, CA worldwide channel chief Bill Lipsin told the more than 600 channel partners attending the CA World conference the company wants to instill a belief in the channel that CA values them.

Virtualization is a priority for CA's worldwide channel team, Lipsin said. He cited IDC figures that peg the virtualization market at $30 billion by the year 2010. The majority of that opportunity for CA will be through partners, he added.

CA has worked with VMware and Microsoft to integrate CA products from XOSoft and ArcServe to mange VMware Hypervisors and Microsoft's Hyper-V. "This comprehensive strategy to integrate a number of CA technologies allows you to manage virtual and physical environments," Lipsin said.

Steve Houck, VMware's channel chief, said there is an US$8 billion opportunity for the channel to integrate CA solutions with VMware and then attach services.

Also, Lipsin announced that CA's Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings for the channel will have Internet Security some time next year. The Internet Security service will be part of CA's SaaS portfolio of Instant Recovery, Governance Risk & Compliance and Clarity PPM, which were released yesterday.

Lipsin introduced several new channel program enhancements based on using the CA direct sales force in partnership with the channel along with new education, development and creating profitable reoccurring revenue streams benefits. Highlighting the new enhancements are rebate and MDF incentives, which will be tied back to partner program levels.

The CA channel program will triple the level of training available, including many no charge hours for basic training. "Today we have 10 times as many classes than what was available to you before," Lipsin said.

A deal registration program will be part of the mix to provide more financial incentives especially if those deals are registered early in the process. Lipsin believes that by registering early, CA is able to help partners close business faster and possibly even make the deal bigger.

The Funded Heads portion of the enhancements provides money to the partner for staff hires and development from a CA product perspective. CA is also speeding up the discount approval process, while reducing the paperwork necessary for the channel to gets its money. In addition, CA has reduced the number of SKUs for ArcServe from 1,000 to 200 in hopes of making it easier for channel partners to get products and to improve time to market.

Lipsin is asking channel partners to develop and submit a business plan to better align with CA product road maps and other market initiatives.

The channel team at CA did an exhaustive study of leading channel programs, benchmarked them against his own to see where CA stacked up in the market, Lipsin said. What he learned was that CA needed to clarify its go-to-market strategy, while focusing on the helping the partner find the right products for the market.

"It needed to be a profitable, consistent and fair program. Channel partners need more training and enablement tools to sell CA products properly," he said.

John Trauth, president of CA partner Merlin International, a Denver-based public sector IT solutions provider, called CA's new channel enhancements a culture changer. "We're working jointly, CA and our sales team, to develop demand generation and MDF that helps us reinvest in training. We have been able to capture more rebate money because of this and we're putting that back into the training," Trauth said.

He added that the registration program has also made a difference in his business. "We want to make sure we win the business that we take to the table. CA, through the registration program, ensures that we win the deal. It is protected and profitable."

Culture change are words we weren't hearing a few years ago from CA in regards to the channel.

"Culture change are words that we did not hear a few years ago," Lipsin admitted. Since he has taken over the channel role Lipsin has put an emphasis on clarity. For example, CA reduced the number of direct accounts from 25,000 down to 4,000. By dramatically reducing the number of direct accounts, CA managed to open up more business for its channel partners.

This move created a problem of channel coverage. "We need your expertise and help. We have the products at CA, but we don't have the trained feet on the street. Great products are not sold on their own," Lipsin said.

"You have my personal commitment to keep refining and enhancing the channel program. We want to make sure we focus on marketing and we will continue to enhance the marketing resource centre. There is a wealth of campaign and tools to help you simplify how you go to market," Lipsin said.

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