Alcatel Partner Program: It's All Together Now

Under the new North America Business Partner Program, Alcatel is bringing together three separate channel organizations around its voice, data networking and carrier-class technology businesses into a single organization, making it easier for partners to sell the entire Alcatel portfolio, said Tom Eggemeier, vice president of North American channels at Alcatel, Plano, Texas.

Previously, partners that sold across business lines had to manage multiple contracts, channel managers and sales managers. Now they&'ll have one of each, Eggemeier said. The changes come in response to a shifting market that sees solution providers pushing more carrier-class technology into enterprise accounts and vice versa, he said.

“Resellers and systems integrators are really demanding a broader portfolio,” he added.

For example, solution providers are now tapping technology such as optical and microwave gear to fill heavy-duty networking needs as large enterprises roll out VoIP or universities aim to act as their own service providers, he said.

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Telmar Network Technology, an Irvine, Calif., solution provider that traditionally has targeted service provider accounts, now sees increasing opportunities to sell carrier-class equipment into vertical markets such as transportation, utilities and municipalities, said Anne Plese, manager of global marketing and new products distribution.

Maneuvering through Alcatel&'s various programs was at times challenging, according to Plese. “Some of the programs had different certification levels, different channel support mechanisms,” she said.

The new program breaks Alcatel&'s partner ranks into three categories, separated by sales volume and levels of training and certification: Expert, Certified and Authorized. To earn Expert status, partners will need to offer products that span at least two of the business categories, Eggemeier said.

Even though Alcatel is consolidating programs, it is actually increasing its channel head count. The company has added channel sales managers, beefed up channel marketing and training, and rolled out incentives that pay sales reps more for deals that include partners, Eggemeier said. Alcatel counts about 125 active partners among its ranks and aims to boost that to 200 by year&'s end, he added.