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Schneider Electric ‘Puts More APC Love’ In Partners’ Pockets

O’Ryan Johnson

Schneider Electric’s long-in-the-tooth partner program was ‘gutted ... completely’ to build one that rewards more of its partners as well as their employees, says Leslie Vitrano, director, global channel marketing and digital channel management

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Schneider Electric’s new partner program has forged two new categories that grant more of its solution providers the benefits of higher-ranking tiers, while it carves out perks for engineers and support staff at Schneider partners.

“We’re not just painting the walls,” said Leslie Vitrano, director of global channel marketing and digital channel management at the IT power superstar. “We’ve gutted the house and we’re completely restructuring with the belief that this will enable our partners to grow their business.”

Where it previously had only one column of partner, Schneider now has them for IT solution provider, data center provider, and software and services provider. Vitrano said this was done to create more opportunities for the partners who have great services that could go unrecognized under the old program due to selling smaller quantities than larger partners who are in separate lines of business.

“We have partners that might be more value-based versus volume-based and so within our channel we have to be able to serve and empower both,” said Vitrano (pictured above). “Now we’re able to recognize where their strengths are but also simultaneously this gives us the opportunity to look at partners that have maybe been only sitting in one category space with us, and they’re leaving money on the table. They have the skill sets. They have the capabilities. They have the install base. They have the customer relationship.”

Jeff Woolley, general manager of Vision Data Center in Baltimore, said this program gives more solution providers and their employees a chance to enjoy the perks of winning deals, and expanding Schneider’s customer base.

“They care about their partners. And you can see that in a variety of ways. I think this current refresh and revamping is a modernization of a program that had gotten stale,” he said. “The program they had wasn’t bad, but it was stale. There wasn’t any way to reward engineers who do a lot of the back-end work, the scheduling and services. They got lost in the old program, just on a rewards basis. “

Vitrano said the new program will allow Schneider to help its existing partners understand other lines of business that are available, and see a path get there.

“Think about the partner that’s one-dimensional right now,” she said. “This now gives them an awakening of what’s available to them if they want it, it gives them the agility for the future, and it also gives us the ability to be more holistic in our offering. We are really excited to see where this takes us.”

Wooley said he expects Vision Data Center to reach elite in two of the new categories.

“You’re able to specialize now on certain types of business solutions that they offer. There’s the data center focused group. The managed service partner group. Then there’s the single phase group. They give you a chance to specialize in those tiers,” he said. “We will be participating in all three of these cylinders, but we won’t be focusing on the software services because that’s not our specialty.

Wooley said expanding those rewards will allow his business to give back to more of the employees who are critical to Schneider’s success.

“Now they can put a little more APC love in their pocket,” he said, referring to Schneider’s West Kingston, R.I.-based flagship data center power management brand.

Vitrano said the changes are an important way for Schneider to recognize the partnerships that have grown the company over its 40-year history, but reward the new as well.

“My grandmother cross-stitched. We had one in my mom’s house. It said, ‘Make new friends, but keep the old. The new are silver, but the old are gold.’ So when people would say, ‘We’re gonna throw everything out, including the kitchen sink.’ It was like, ‘No. We have to honor our history, but we have to level up to what is happening.’ “

O’Ryan Johnson

O’Ryan Johnson is a veteran news reporter. He covers the data center beat for CRN and hopes to hear from channel partners about how he can improve his coverage and write the stories they want to read. He can be reached at ojohnson@thechannelcompany.com..

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