Nokia Primes New Partner Program

Scheduled to go live in January, Nokia's Business Channel Program is designed to encourage partners to sell broad Nokia solutions that encompass the vendor's mobility, security and voice products, said Mary McDowell, executive vice president and general manager of Nokia's enterprise solutions group.

To date, Nokia's channel efforts have largely focused on its VPN and firewall appliance products, many of which run security software from Check Point Software Technologies, McDowell said. With the new program, Nokia will formalize two new disciplines: a mobility track that supports partners qualified to sell and service Nokia's Intellisync Mobile Suite of device management applications, and a voice track that addresses products and services that help customers integrate mobile communications with IP-based PBXs.

Driving the new disciplines is what Nokia sees as a trend toward the centralization of the administration of mobile technology, according to McDowell.

"One of the things we see happening with mobile devices is a shift from individuals buying a device, bringing it into work and saying 'Hey, can someone hook it up?,' to the IT administrators taking more control of the purchase decisions," she said.

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The new Nokia channel program has two levels, Authorized and Expert. Participants in both are offered incentives to expand into all three technology tracks: mobility, security and voice.

All of Nokia's approximately 1,000 global partners, including about 300 in the United States, are required to re-qualify as partners under the new program, although experienced partners can test out, said John Mason, Nokia's vice president of global channel operations.

Under the new rules, Authorized partners must have at least one certified technician and two authorized sales associates, Mason said. Expert partners must have at least three certified technicians and three sales associates.

A cash incentive for signing on to the new program will be paid to all qualified partners through their distributors in about three months after the program launches, Mason added.

Cingular Wireless is the exclusive service provider for Nokia E62 wireless devices in the United States, McDowell said. Recruitment for the new Nokia partner program began last week at a conference in Athens, Greece. Three more conferences are planned this month in the United States, China and Asia-Pacific region, she said.