CA Means Business With Once-And-For-All Channel Program

Under the new rules, CA's partner managers will have named partner accounts and performance quotas—a departure from territory-based commissions. Product SKUs and licensing will be simplified. CA's Customer Interaction Center call center will no longer assist CA's direct sales force, concentrating instead on partner support. CIC engineers will be mobilized into the field for the first time, and a line of CA products that can be implemented by MSPs will soon arrive, said Gary Quinn, executive vice president of indirect business operations.

Quinn told CRN he is extremely disappointed with how CA's channel structure was run prior to his reappointment as channel chief in June. He has returned with a vengeance, and wants CA's indirect sales up from what's now about $600 million a year to about $1.3 billion over the next three years—an amount equal to 30 percent of the vendor's total annual sales, he said.

"There wasn't a centralized approach," he said. "We had seven different ways of doing things in North America."

Now, every CA partner will be assigned a dedicated manager who—similar to CA's named-account structure for its direct sales force—will be paid commission only on those accounts, said Quinn. Partner managers must work with their named partners to set sales goals and hit them, he said.

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To prevent conflicts, managers will identify for their named partners which, if any, customers in their area are on CA's list of named direct accounts, a list that dropped from 12,000 to 3,000 this year. Many of the 1,700 jobs CA said last week it plans to cut in order to save about $200 million annually were sales support for the 9,000 customers no longer on the named direct account list, he said. Quinn's channel team, however, has been given a significant increase in financial support in order to drive partners to those customers, and others, he said.

The CIC engineers being mobilized for partner field support are called TeleCATs. From their location in Tampa, Fla., TeleCATs can be dispatched if needed anywhere to help a partner close a sale, said Quinn.

When Quinn first outlined his plan during a presentation at the XChange '06 show in St. Louis, held last week by CRN publisher CMP Technology, Terry Calloway was in the room. Calloway, president of Data Technique, a CRN Fast Growth solution provider in Pittsburg, Kan., said that given the channel's "love/hate" relationship with CA, the plan appeared to present a significant ground-floor opportunity to engage CA as a partner and benefit over the long term.

Because CA wants another chance, it "will remember you for that, too," he said.

A way to productize its offerings for MSPs is also in the queue at CA, said Quinn. Today, licensing issues, security keys, and the inability to allow for multitenant management in CA products prevent them from being used efficiently by MSPs.

But that is quickly being changed and MSP products are on the way, he said. As for the overall product portfolio, there are too many product numbers—15,000—and too little technical and sales training for the critical ones, said Quinn. CA plans to correct this starting in the next 30 to 60 days, said Quinn.

Stacy Hayes, vice president of DS3 Data Vaulting, a solution provider in Fairfax, Va., said that CA has a job ahead of it when it comes to convincing new partners where CA fits in their portfolio. "Help me grow my business," he said.

Co-architect of CA's new program, George Kafkarkou, senior vice president of worldwide commercial sales and strategy, said CA now knows how to do that. "We have come up with a structured approach," he said, "as opposed to something haphazard."