3Com's New Channel Program Paves Way For Advancement

With the new Focus Partner Program, 3Com is unveiling a point system for achievement of Gold, Silver and Bronze status that aims to simplify and clarify the steps needed to move up the ranks. In addition, 3Com is launching four stratified technology specializations in IP telephony, enterprise LAN, security and enterprise wireless.

“The challenge posed for a very long time was how to intersect the medal levels with the technology specializations,” said Nick Tidd, vice president of North American channel sales at 3Com, Marlborough, Mass.

3Com is also adding an entry-level Registered partner category. Until now, all new 3Com partners were awarded Bronze status by default, which diluted the value of the designation, Tidd said.

The new point system rewards partners for a variety of elements, including service capabilities, technology specializations and revenue. The result is that partners have a clear path to migrate into the program&'s higher levels. It also means that, while product revenue can be a factor in determining status, it doesn&'t have to be, as partners can make up the difference by earning points in other areas.

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“We wanted to maintain some level of revenue measurement but as a lowest common denominator,” Tidd said. “Now, you can maintain Gold status if you miss your revenue.”

Valcom Computer Center, a 3Com Gold partner, is striving to achieve top-level Elite status across all four of the technology specializations, said Shaun Steel, sales manager of the Salt Lake City company. Steel estimates that Valcom will have to invest an additional $10,000 to $15,000 in training to hit that goal but expects the payback to be well worth it.