APC by Schneider Electric sees opportunities for partners in networking, virtualization, cloud computing, data center infrastructure management, and energy management—and seeks partners that have their eyes on future trends, says Himanshu Patel, senior strategic marketing manager.
“We want partners that are staying on top of the trends in the marketplace and [asking] how do we adapt to it? When we look at our partners, we’re very much a hardware story,” he says. “But we’re looking for partners that are doing both [hardware and services]. And now that APC is part of Schneider Electric we have some other things that partners can leverage—energy management, network management. So we’re looking at partners that are evolving.”
Patel says APC is evolving with them. “I see a lot of partners I talk to going to managed services. And besides managed services you see all these hosted cloud-based solutions. That’s where partners are going, so we want to make sure we’re with them. In some of these cases we’re the back-end data center provider for them. We have software that they may not be aware of, that we can do systems like that. We can support [them].”
He adds, “There are other solution offers that we are coming out with as well. The biggest thing we’re seeing is converged infrastructure. It’s got everything built in. How do you shut that down? What are your systems? Things like that.”
Currently, the APC Channel Partner Program offers four levels – Registered, Select, Premier, and Elite. Financial differentiation and incentives include points-based rewards, opportunity registration, back-end incentives, and other programs.
“For us channel’s very important,” says Patel. “Over 90 percent of our revenue goes through the channel. Primarily, that’s who we rely on for our business. It’s a very symbiotic relationship. If they’re not doing well, we’re not doing well. If we’re doing well, they’re doing well.”
APC is focused on partner profitability, he says. “How do we help partners make money? So we introduced a couple [of] programs last year. We have an SMB solutions program. We know that partners are typically selling a UPS, a rack, or a PDU [power distribution unit]. So we said if you buy a combination of those three, you buy through distribution; we don’t want you to go through dealer registration, you just buy through distribution. You configure it. We’re going to give you up to 12 points off right off the bat. There’s no paperwork to fill out. We handle the back end. We make it very easy for you.”
Other partner benefits include direct mail/email demand-generating templates, co-branded promotional items, newsletter templates, customizable spec sheets, flyers, and brochures. These are all available online. Also, the APC Showcase by SharedVue allows partners to host timely APC content on their website without having to update it themselves. Once registered, partners are given statistics and metrics related to the customers that visit the APC Showcase on their website. Partners have access to tools for monitoring and managing sales leads gathered from site visitors.
To be successful, Patel says partners need to keep evolving. “We went from dotcom days to now we’re coming to converged architectures and converged systems in cloud-based systems. You’re always having to move ahead of the curve and I think partners are mostly—the good ones—are staying ahead of that. So my advice is [to] understand what’s going on in the future.”