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The hope, Callisch said, is to draw major regional VARs into its stead to attack the enterprise. Ruckus plans to bait those larger VARs by also guaranteeing quarterly rebates on all products regardless of price support, and a dedicated MDF stream and special promotions reserved only for Top Dogs.
It also wants to develop Top Dog VARs that specialize in the vertical markets -- hospitality, health care, education and retail -- Ruckus wants to dominate.
One of those is Gary Patrick, president of Hotel Internet Services, an Agoura Hills, Calif.-based solution provider that specializes in hotels, ocean liners and other major deployments in the hospitality industry.
Patrick said he gained access to Ruckus engineers and sales support immediately.
"Many times you call to look at becoming a reseller of a product and you get the feeling they are really not interested in new resellers and are only interested in how much business you might be able to bring to the table," Patrick said. "Ruckus was different. They had a nice, streamlined site with lots of product brochures, videos, product information, site survey simulation software, lead capture database, etc."
Patrick said he sees Ruckus' Top Dog classification as a natural step in Ruckus' channel growth and a sign it's serious about the enterprise push.
"I believe the 80-20 rule applies here," Patrick said. "Eighty percent of their revenue comes from 20 percent of their VARs. So it only makes sense that as their company expands, they expend their funds and efforts in the area that is going to be the most productive use of those funds and efforts. The more sales and support our company receives, the more business we will be able to bring to Ruckus. So it's a win-win situation."
Ruckus also is hoping to build out its support for partners through its ongoing WiSE Guy program -- certifications cost $350 a person -- and other programs such as Pimp My Wi-Fi, a nationwide seminar series. For Top Dogs, Ruckus also is adding to its lead generation program, promising those elite VARs 10 hard leads every quarter that according to Callisch have "been scrubbed" (i.e. vetted to make sure they're useful). The company is further urging VARs to leverage specialty wireless vendors it partners with, such as AirMagnet, AeroScout and Vocera.
Solution providers told Channelweb.com that Ruckus talks a good game about both its products and its channel outreach, and for the most part, they've backed it up.
"We just believe it's better Wi-Fi with them, across all verticals, and we haven't been proven wrong yet," said Tom Gobeille, president of Network Computing Architects, a Bellevue, Wash.-based solution provider. "We're looking at school districts, companies that have campus environments, retailers with large warehouses -- all places that have gone from doing wireless as a 'nice to have' to wireless as a necessity. With Ruckus, it appeared to us there was a combination of both passion around technology and people that had had success in it before. They've attracted some really top RF people."
Gobeille likes the sound of a more focused program for the top-tier partners; NCA itself is a Top Dog Ruckus VAR.
"I think there's a real incentive. They've been very careful and very thoughtful around what they want to do with MDF, deal reg and incentives," Gobeille said. "What I also like about Ruckus is that they established themselves early on as a global company. They didn't try to win North America and then try to branch out to Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. There are some things they need to work on related to making the products even better and more manageable for larger accounts, but all of my expectations have been met."
All of which is helping to broaden Ruckus' profile, too, in the crowded and tightly competitive wireless industry.
"Ruckus has a technologically superior solution," said Brian Young, president of Invision Networks, a Burr Ridge, Ill. solution provider. "That's what's different. To us, Cisco has had such a poor product for the last five or six years, but it's there because it was so popular and no one gets fired for buying it. It worked. It worked well enough to answer a need for the solution. Ruckus has an understanding of how we can build wireless properly, and they really respond to the channel. They're interested in more than just elevating VARs to do certain stuff or do more deals and put more logos in their cart. People are still 'Who's Ruckus?,' but that's changing, too. Talk to hospitality and education market people. They know who Ruckus is."