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Schneider Electric’s APC Makes School Push, Updates ORP Program

‘Reliability is more critical than ever. The last thing you want is for your school to be in the middle of something and the whole system goes down and I lost that learning time for them,’ APC’s Gail Fredrickson says of the vendor’s new education push that is happening alongside a refresh of APC’s Opportunity Registration Program.

With many schools running online learning or hybrid learning environments in the face of the pandemic, Schneider Electric’s APC is making a new push to equip them with modern data center power solutions to ensure school networks remain online.

“Reliability is more critical than ever,” said Gail Fredrickson, APC‘s director of channel marketing and strategic execution, in a recent interview with CRN. “The last thing you want is for your school to be in the middle of something and the whole system goes down and I lost that learning time for them.”

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The push for APC partners to pursue opportunities in the educational space is happening as the Andover, Mass.-based power vendor is rolling out a new and improved Opportunity Registration Program that includes “stacker” discounts for segments such as education.

With this new education push, APC’s new Opportunity Registration Program aims to help partners increase their profitability with an easier-to-understand discounting structure and a new protection that only grants discounts to registered deals, helping protect against bids from competitors. The program has also lowered the revenue threshold for IT solution providers.

“We understand that this is a place where it is a highly competitive market for our partners. We want to ensure that we protect those partners and ensure their profitability with even better margins,” Fredrickson said.

Beyond APC’s power products, there is an opportunity for partners to use sell and manage Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IT platform for monitoring the physical infrastructure layer and the power infrastructure layer at schools for proactive maintenance purposes.

But for partners who don’t have the resources to handle maintenance, APC has launched a new offering called Monitoring & Dispatch that provides monitoring and maintenance services for the vendor’s uninterruptible power source products.

“It really removes that from the end user’s and partner’s plate and allows us to take that off their hands if that’s what they what they need to have happen,” Fredrickson said.

Beyond APC’s push for education, the vendor is also seeing opportunities to deploy its products for new public health use cases, like thermal imaging for fever detection and other applications that can help reduce virus spread, according to Fredrickson.

“That is definitely an emerging market, an emerging trend that’s coming that we are working with our partners to see how we can help create that perfect partner ecosystem that they can develop for their customers’ one single solution,” she said.

Looking into next year, APC is planning to expand its work with operational technology partners and find ways to bring OT and IT partners together. The vendor is planning to update its partner program in 2021 with “most robust” training, according to Fredrickson.

“We have IT solution providers who are starting to dabble in that field,” Fredrickson said. “There’s a few of them that are starting to branch out as they see the need for IT in that segment as well as the OT system integrators [who] are reaching across the aisle in our direction, saying, ‘hey we see an opportunity for IT, but we don’t have expertise in this area.’”

Over the next two months, Schneider Electric plans to hold a virtual version of its Innovation Summit, called Innovation World Tour, that will include programming for APC partners.

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