Nth Generation: Partnering With Compaq Is Profitable


Good rebates, training and other channel-related programs have made Rich Baldwin, president and CEO of San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, a devoted Compaq partner.


'The more you invest, the more return you get back from the manufacturer. Compaq has been pretty good to us, I think, in giving us those kinds of returns.' -- Rich Baldwin, CEO, Nth Generation Computing

If a solution provider knows how to maximize its investments and target the right market, Compaq is a very profitable line with good reseller programs, Baldwin said. For example, Nth Generation has committed training, certification, quarterly sales programs in front of up to 300 potential customers, and a multimillion-dollar demonstration lab to the Compaq line, and the vendor often turns to the solution provider when a client seeks services, he said.

"That's partly why I think that when opportunities come up, we're on the top of their list in terms of recommending a good partner to work with a major client," Baldwin said. "It is kind of reciprocal: The more you invest, the more return you get back from the manufacturer. Compaq has been pretty good to us, I think, in giving us those kinds of returns."

Nevertheless, solution providers such as Nth Generation know they're not living in a Compaq sales wonderland. Echoing the concerns of many other solution providers, Baldwin said Compaq has been taking a more direct approach to its marketing. For instance, he said, Compaq has assembled a list of the top 400 accounts it aims to take direct. In addition, Compaq's Reseller Support Center, a group that previously offered sales and technical support to solution providers, now serves more as an SMB reseller organization that competes with solution providers, he said. "We've had the local territory [Compaq people take us into accounts or say, 'Here's one to go after,' and then we'll find out a month later that Compaq out of Colorado Springs in telemarketing is competing on an account which Compaq brought us into," Baldwin said.

The situation won't get better until Compaq figures out how to centrally manage sales on a local basis, he added. "You have to have one group,and I would assume it would be the local geography,being responsible for all sales, whether they are direct or indirect partners or telemarketed," he said. "That's No. 1 on my wish list: single account management capabilities on a local area. Otherwise, that's going to drive us all crazy."