Siemens' Global Plans

The new program, expected to launch in May, standardizes the company's worldwide partner programs, providing improved communications for its 125 U.S.

solution providers and making it easier for them to do business overseas, said Audrey Baker, director of channel marketing at Siemens Enterprise Networks, Reston, Va. "Even if partners are not global today, no one wants to think they can't be global tomorrow," she said.

To support the new program, the communications equipment vendor also plans to launch a global partner portal that will offer access to training, product documentation, lead generation and technical support. Following the completion of a global SAP deployment, the site will also include order tracking, Baker said.

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The new program includes three partner levels: Solution, for top partners targeting large enterprises; System, for midlevel partners targeting small and midsize companies; and Product, the basic partner level.

Siemens Enterprise Networks said Solution partners must make a $500,000 volume commitment and have four trained product technicians and four trained sales representatives on staff. System partners have a $150,000 volume commitment and need three product technicians and two sales reps on staff. Product partners have no volume commitment but must employ two product technicians and one sales rep.

Under the new program, partners can sell whichever of the company's HiPath IP telephony products fit their business plans, as long as they achieve the necessary certifications, Baker said.

"[Vendors] are really keen on certifications, and it gets tougher and tougher to maintain them across multiple platforms," said Tim Stone, product management director at Norstan Communications, a telecommunications integrator in Minneapolis. The new strategy could open the program to smaller integrators that couldn't devote the necessary resources to achieving all of the certifications required under the previous program, he said.