Symbol Simplifies Channel Program

Simplification is at the heart of the new program, said Jan Burton, vice president of worldwide channels at Symbol, Holtsville, N.Y. Under the new initiative, Symbol is consolidating its top two partner tiers into one, leveling the playing field for qualified partners that produce so they can take advantage of Symbol's premier partner perks, she said.

Populating the lower tier of the program are Symbol's Authorized Resellers, which will have access to most Symbol products. ISVs that do not sell hardware have a place as wellside-by-side with top-tier partners in Symbol's PartnerSelect ISV Program, also slated to go live this week.

Symbol's indirect sales grew to 68 percent of its total bookings in the first quarter of 2005, up from 46 percent in late 2002. Still, Symbol will reassess its existing partner base to ensure everyone is in the right place in the new program, Burton said. A decrease in the number of partners is possible, she added.

New certifications for Symbol's RFID technology will play a role in positioning partners and will be a requirement for about 50 partners brought onboard from Symbol's acquisition of Matrics last September, Burton said.

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The opening of Symbol's top partner tier to middle-tier resellers doesn't irk Bill Morris, director of hardware systems at Atlanta-based Manhattan Associates, an ISV and systems integrator and a legacy top-tier Symbol partner.

Morris said his company's particular value-add continues to set it apart from other integrators. "I can hold and maintain my margins based on the other pieces I bring to the puzzle," he said.

Under the new program, Symbol is reducing the number of discount categories from 43 to four, a move that "will dramatically simplify pricing for partners," Burton said. Symbol product SKUs also will fall in number, from 17,000 to 6,000 in two years, with another reduction to 4,000 planned by the end of 2006, she said.