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Park Place Technologies Rolls Out First Channel Program In 30-Year History

‘We built a really healthy channel business without necessarily stating that it’s a core component of the company.... We’re stating to the market that the channel is critical to our business, and we want to continue to expand and grow our footprint with our partners,’ says Jeff McCullough, global vice president of channel sales for Park Place Technologies.

Park Place Technologies this week unveiled its first formal channel program in the company’s 30-year history despite the fact that the channel now accounts for over 40 percent of the company’s total revenue.

The new Uptime Partner Program is aimed at supporting the company’s goal of helping its channel partners be customer heroes by bringing third-party hardware maintenance and other services to their clients, said Jeff McCullough, global vice president of channel sales for the Cleveland, Ohio-based third-party IT data center equipment management technology provider.

“When our partners are engaged, when they’re talking about these services and solutions, that we offer, they’re really talking about big problems,” he said. ”The customer doesn’t have enough budget to pay for the maintenance part. The customer doesn’t have enough people to support all the assets they have. They can’t afford projects because their dollars are invested in their maintenance contracts.”

[Related: Emerging Data Center Vendors To Know In 2021]

McCullough, who in early 2020 took on the role of the company’s first channel chief after several years serving as channel chief for storage giant NetApp, told CRN that his company has about 1,300 channel partners globally who account for about 42 percent of the company‘s total business, McCullough said.

“We built a really healthy channel business without necessarily stating that it’s a core component of the company.... We’re stating to the market that the channel is critical to our business, and we want to continue to expand and grow our footprint with our partners,” he said.

Formalizing its channel program is a very good move for Park Place Technologies and its partners, said Dave Hiechel, president and CEO of Eagle Technologies, a Salina, Kansas-based solution provider and long-time Park Place channel partner.

Eagle Technologies is very territorial when it comes to its customers, Hiechel told CRN.

“Having a formal channel program means there is account control, which is important for us,” he said.

It is also important for Park Place Technologies as it starts to push its managed services capabilities, Hiechel said.

“We now have a managed services business around Commvault, VMware, and some storage,” he said. “But we don’t do managed services around endpoint management and network management. That’s where Park Place is moving. We want to be deeper in the core data center, and let Park Place do the rest. And a formal channel partner protects us revenue-wise.”

A formal partner program is important when looking at the opportunities a vendor provides, said Shane Vinup, CEO of Cyber Advisors, a Maple Grove, Minn.-based MSP and solution provider and 10-year Park Place Technologies channel partner.

“When we partner with a vendor, we look for co-sales and co-branded opportunities, MDFs (market development funds), education, and engagement,” Vinup told CRN. “We are looking for a two-way street. Park Place has always represented us in our accounts. They’ve tagged us, and know we’re going to grow the opportunity. They’ve never tried to sell around us. But having a formal program in place is comforting.”

Park Place‘s new channel program has three primary focuses, McCullough said.

The first is profitability, where partners can get 20-plus points of front-end margin and the opportunity to register deals, he said. “At least they know it‘s worth the time and energy to invest in the deals,” he said.

The second focus is making it easy for partners to transact with Park Place in terms of getting quotes together and getting through the process, McCullough said. “Over half of our deals close within 30 days,” he said. ”From time of quote to actual close, we have quick turnaround time.”

That quick turnaround time is important in this business, McCullough said. “A lot of the time, those customers are on deadlines,” he said. ”It‘s like, ’Hey, this stuff comes out of warranty in 30 days. What do I do? I just got the bill from the OEM, and they’re asking for more than I’ve got.’ That’s an easy one. We can jump in and fix that really fast.”

The third is differentiation, including providing a single multi-vendor service relationship, proactive alerts to reduce outages and maximize uptime, and global consistency, McCullough said.

Park Place Technologies offers partners stackable margins, McCullough said. This starts with 20 points on the hardware maintenance contract, on top of which partners can add ParkView Monitoring which also offers 20 points of margin, he said.

On top of that, partners can earn recurring revenue with ParkView Networking Monitoring, ParkView Server Management, and ParkView Discovery, he said.

ParkView Discovery offers partners additional benefits, McCullough said. For instance, he said, ParkView Discovery can find assets in a customer‘s infrastructure that are out of support, giving the partner a chance to bring those assets under maintenance.

With the new partner program, Park Place Technologies is offering partners the opportunity to work at three levels, McCullough said.

The Uptime Authorized Partner level is aimed at partners who may conduct one transaction a year and who need help to close business.

The Uptime Gold Partner level, targeting the majority of partners, provides a named field channel manager, access to leads and market development funds, portal and deal registration access, and sales training support.

The Uptime Platinum Partner, targeting partners who want to invest in the relationship, brings those partners named or dedicated channel resources and access to program investment funds.

The level depends on a partner’s annual Park Place Technologies revenue, which varies from country to country. McCullough said.

The company is also offering specialization tracks to partners starting with network management. Partners who invest $10,000 up front in achieving specialization gain additional discounts on all Entuity network monitoring and ParkView Networking automated maintenance service products as well as the ability to sell partner-branded products and services. The $10,000 investment is credited back to the partner after the close of the first sale, McCullough said.

Channel partners are also paid for contract renewals for as long as the asset is under contract, he said.

As part of the Uptime channel program, Park Place is introducing the Uptime partner portal where solution providers can register deals, get co-branded marketing assets, access training, and get the latest news and updates from the company, McCullough said.

“For the industry, this is probably the most aggressive [program] of anybody that we compete with in the data center services space,” he said. ”We‘re offering a complete and fully featured channel program that supports our partners and supports the goal of growing the business. And when you think about the breadth of the portfolio, it’s not just about selling more maintenance but selling more data center services.”

Vinup said that Cyber Advisors has never had a bad experience with Park Place Technologies, which he said is rare in the IT channel.

“Our techs never complain,” he said. “Park Place has great product availability and support. And their system is especially nice with current supply chain issues. It’s important to maintain customers’ systems, but sometimes it’s hard to get new systems to replace those coming out of warranty. Park Place is great for bridging older equipment until the new equipment is available. It’s important to plan for product refreshes in advance, but customers don’t always listen.”

Park Place Technologies offers twice the margins for its extended maintenance support compared to support contracts from the hardware OEMs, Eagle Technologies’ Hiechel said.

“We offer first call support, and in a break-fix situation, pass it on to Park Place,” he said. “We determine if something is broken, and if Park Place says there’s an issue, they ship the part. About 95 percent of this is done remotely, with most parts being customer-replaceable.”

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