Huawei over the past few months has held what it calls Fast Start programs -- two-day seminars in New Jersey, Texas and California through which Huawei invited partners in for sales and technical training. Each Fast Start event sold out, Claus said, and had about 40 participants.
In addition to building its internal channel support team, Huawei is also getting ready to roll out a services program for solution providers, who will be able to resell its services and support, or -- provided they qualify and are willing to make an additional investment -- brand Huawei services under their own labels and reap better margins.
Customer curiosity over the Huawei name is helping the team open doors, Claus said -- especially its status as a $35 billion global player that's still a relative unknown in the U.S. Huawei's U.S. enterprise portfolio will continue to expand, and as of now covers switches, routers, cloud management products, videoconferencing and storage appliances.
"It enables partners to go into places they haven't and be able to offer an alternative," Claus said. "We can offer savings in many cases -- significant savings that allow customers to expand their budget. We also offer partners the chance to get in with us on the ground-floor and not worry about 10 dealers down the road selling the product."
Huawei faces an upward climb to make progress in the U.S. market. It's still dogged by concerns over its executive team's alleged ties to the Chinese military, and it has left a bad taste in the mouths of some U.S.-based channel partners following the implosion of the Huawei Symantec joint venture late last year.
It's also in the crosshairs of major networking vendors trying to keep it boxed out of the North America market; Cisco, in particular, has looked to paint Huawei as unethical and as having an unreliable partnering strategy.
Claus said Huawei's success and program will speak for itself.
"We're going to run the program on principles of consistency and no surprises and being very up front," he said. "It's not a complicated program where you have to sit down every quarter and find out what the changes are going to be and how you're going to make money. There is nothing to unravel."
PUBLISHED AUG. 23, 2012