Colubris Launches WLAN Partner Program

802.11n networking wireless

Colubris Networks is the latest wireless networking vendor to launch a wireless-specific channel program to get resellers on board with new wireless offerings that can be an inroad to new customers and existing customers looking to build out their wireless networks. Recently other vendors like Motorola and Extricom have also launched new wireless-centric programs.

The Colubris Advanced Partner Program (CAPP) offers partners new market opportunities and tools to drive revenue with Colubris' wireless products and services, said Tom Racca, Colubris' vice president of marketing. The three-tiered program, Racca said, offers margin-building incentives and rewards, technical and sales training, marketing support and account management to partners to get them up to snuff on the Waltham, Mass.-based vendor's WLAN product line.

The three levels are Authorized Partner, Select Partner and Premier Partner, Racca said.

Authorized partners, the entry-level, will have additional support from Colubris, including access to its WLAN products and services, technical support, sales and technical training and marketing and sales tools available in the Colubris Partner Portal. Select partners, an enhanced level, is designed for partners that have had success in capturing WLAN market share and want to further their Colubris investment. Select partners will also receive the same perks as Authorized Partners along with market development funds.

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The highest level, the Premier Partner tier, will comprise a strategic group of partners with expertise in planning, designing, implementing and supporting WLAN solutions. Partners at that level add services and support, such as training, installation and configuration, on top of the solutions they sell. Racca said partners at that level receive the highest level of economic incentives and support.

There is no revenue requirement for Authorized partners. For Select and Premier partners, the revenue targets are $250,000 and $500,000, respectively. Racca added, however, that revenue requirements are cut in half during the first year. Additionally, Select partners require one certified sales staff member and one certified technical staff member, while Premier requires two of each.

According to Racca, Colubris' marketing development funds are allocated monthly based on a VARs volume of Colubris product and service purchases. MDF may be used for approved marketing activities like trade shows, local events, email marketing and other lead-generation activities. Colubris has also added a campaign on demand resource, in which the vendor delivers customized campaigns to build new business. Partners can execute lead generation campaigns using an array of email, direct mail and seminar marketing materials available online. And with online deal registration, partners can register deals online and receive additional financial incentives.

Along with the launch of the new channel program, Colubris also unveiled its new Partner Portal to give partners access to sales and marketing tools, including product collateral, presentations and online training classes. The portal also features self-service MDF management and online deal registration.

"What we've done is created a full Web-based platform with automated tools for them," Racca said. "A company can pick and choose what they want to do with an MDF."

Colubris makes the Intelligent Mobility Solution, which features an 802.11n-ready architecture that allows customers to migrate to the new wireless standard without forklift network upgrades. The solution ties together Colubris MultiService Controllers, MultiService Access Points, Wireless Client Bridge and a network management system for secure connectivity and mobility. Racca said Colubris solutions can support deployments of all sizes and that Colubris focuses on six key verticals: hospitality, service providers, health care, education, manufacturing and transportation.

Sunray Technology Integration, a Palm Desert, Calif.-based solution provider, which specializes in networks for the hospitality industry, has been working with Colubris for the last few years. Jeff Darst, director of sales for Sunray, said the new program and features like the registration tool help sales and boost revenue. The registration tool, Darst said, gives immediate product allocation information and adds five points of margin, plus it's easy to use.

Darst added that Colubris offers a strong level of communication and partner support and, since the company is 100 percent channel focused, doesn't create unnecessary competition.

"There's no direct versus channel conflict," he said.

Sunray is a Select partner, said Corey Foltz, vice president of engineering, said Colubris' play in the 802.11n space will prepare Sunray for the technology, which is soon to dominate wireless deployments.

"The market has to bite on the technology before you can sell it," Foltz said. "But Colubris has gotten us where we need to be to make sure we're ready. We're trying to push it right now."

And 11n, Foltz added, is making it necessary for VARs to offer wireless solutions as some companies will begin phasing out their wired networks in favor of the new technology.

"It's definitely a necessity now and the market's making it a necessity," he said.

Racca agreed that the wireless network is at a crossroads, partly due to 11n.

"When you look at Wi-Fi today, there is an inflection point in the market place and that's 11n," he said. "If you're a networking VAR, you need to be in Wi-Fi."