Philips Refocuses Attention On Channel Sales

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Philips is reinvigorating its channel business with solutions built around its IT and consumer electronics products.

In the past, the company was organized by product line, which meant that as products became commoditized there was little synergy, said Bill Taylor, vice president of business development for the Philips Business Solutions division of Philips Consumer Electronics, based here.

But as Philips formulated a business-to-business strategy,which included combining various products into more complete solutions,it realized the need to refocus on the channel, Taylor said.

Philips' channel offerings this year include desktop solutions featuring styles and designs that enhance the value of the corporate desktop and are geared toward executives; workstation solutions based on large-screen displays and enhanced software for the graphics business; and conference room solutions with embedded networking in digital projectors and plasma TVs.

The company is also targeting specific verticals, including the medical, financial and retail display markets, Taylor said. "We don't develop the software for such applications," he said. "We depend on the channel to develop full solutions."

Philips offers advertising funds, marketing support and training under its tiered Partners for Profit program, Taylor said. Certification programs for specific solutions are on tap for the third quarter. For example, solution providers that work in the retail display market can get certified for large-screen display connectivity, he said.

The company currently has about 600 solution providers in the United States, up from about 150 in mid-2002. It hopes to have 2,400 partners by year-end, Taylor said.

One new product for the channel is DesXcape, a wireless touch-screen LCD monitor that can be carried from room to room and is based on Microsoft's Smart Display specifications.

Rich Shovick, vice president of procurement at Paragon, an Oconomowoc, Wis.-based solution provider, said Paragon has been a longtime Philips partner because the quality of the vendor's monitors is second to none.

Shovick also said he is impressed with the business possibilities for DesXcape. "It's nice for the boardrooms," he said.

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