Page 3 of 4
VARs pointed to D-Link's strengthened partner program as evidence of the progress Piwowarczyk referred to. D-Link in the past two years made a number of new investments in its channel, and partners cottoned to specific incentives like the D-Link Bounty Program, in which Silver- and Gold-level D-Link partners who ended up losing registered deals to competitors could still receive a small rebate for D-Link for the work they put in to the deal.
But the biggest raves came for the revamped deal registration program in Value In Partnership (VIP) program, in which deal registration discounts were offered by deal size rather than by partner level and were offered on the front end of deals instead of the back. Steve Ryan, another former 3Com executive who joined D-Link in November 2010 as its director of North American channel programs, told CRN in April 2011 that the changes D-Link made to VIP had brought a five-fold increase in new partner registrations -- more measurable progress for a team rapidly gaining good will with VARs.
Piwowarcyzk said that the VIP revamp was one of several programs D-Link was successfully executing. Partners, he said, saw a consistent message from the team.
"We got really good at regularly communicating with partners, particularly with things like quarterly product roadmap updates," Piwowarczyk said. "We think that kind of stuff is important to the partnership of the VAR and the manufacturer."
The growth of D-Link's technology portfolio has similarly been steady. Earlier in December, D-Link launched a new line of five- and eight-port network switches for SMBs that were power-efficient, self-managed and included built-in cable diagnostics for between $30 and $69 a piece.
Its cloud strategy has also come to the fore. D-Link in May updated its portfolio of cloud-managed products with a Power-over-Ethernet access point, a security client, and a broadband aggregation router, which were packaged as hardware-plus-cloud-service-subscription investments with low-cost annual renewal fees.
Piwowarczyk said that entering this fall, D-Link's network switches, iSCSI SAN products, enterprise wireless and IP surveillance lines were all growing, with the storage and IP surveillance products catching on quickest among VARs.
"We looked at their low-end SANs, for example, and they were more than what we expected," KME's Essayian recalled. "We were guilty of thinking, yeah, this is consumer. They said, let us convince you. They built the channel, built the people, hired some good folks. We agreed that this makes sense for clients that are budget-conscious."
BCT's Gregg said his company didn't sell any D-Link products before Piwowarczyk's arrival there."It wasn't even considered part of the line card before," he said.
"There was a fit for our product portfolio," added Medwed. "They are very good quality products, priced reasonably for more price-conscious shoppers. We like to say in our business, 'Let the facts be our friends.' The facts are D-Link's friend."