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The changes within CA began in earnest on April 1, the start of the company's fiscal year, when the company began shifting the role of its direct sales force. In North America, the company hired about 40 new territory account managers (TAMs) to help develop opportunities in cooperation with channel partners and turn them into joint sales deals. Those TAM hires either had direct channel experience and/or came from channel-focused vendors such as Microsoft and Red Hat.
While San Francisco-based Digital Celerity has worked with CA since 1996, Schwartz said Digital Celerity's sales pipeline today is more than double what it was this time last year -- due at least in part to assistance from the new territory account managers.
CA has consolidated all its channel programs, including those for resellers and volume distributors, under a single global program with standard contracts, a partner portal and a deal registration system. The vendor has also stepped up the services it provides partners, such as funding for business development and demand-generation, partner training courses and services for developing partner business plans.
"You should anticipate from us, and our partner sales leaders, that we're just going to continue turning the dial up on the quality and the richness of those plans," CA's Bradley promised in a speech to partners at the summit.
Today CA has about 200 premier and select partners in its Technology Partner Program with another 50 or so in the pipeline, according to Bradley, with about 300 being the overall goal. Many more resellers are affiliate members of the program.
"We're not out recruiting thousands of partners. That's really not our strategy," said CA's Fischer, addressing the summit attendees. "We want quality [and] enduring relationships."
A constant theme throughout the summit was helping partners evolve as their customers increasingly adopt cloud IT services as an alternative to installing on-premise IT management tools. A key element of CA's push in that area is Nimsoft, the cloud-based IT monitoring and service desk software the company acquired in March 2010.
And as cloud computing reduces the need for deep implementation skills among solution providers, CA executives repeatedly emphasized the value of "domain expertise" -- whether in vertical industries or practice areas like project management -- among channel partners the company is working with most closely.
CA's channel efforts haven't been without their hiccups. Fischer, for example, noted that he still hears of conflicts between partners and CA's services organization, something he's working on. "Our strategy is to have an effective services team that leverages partners. We do not want to have a giant services team. It does not work for our financial model," he said.