Tandberg, Exabyte Channel Programs Join Together

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Tandberg Data has combined its channel program with that of Exabyte to present a unified front to its solution providers in the wake of the storage vendors' merger.

Tandberg acquired financially struggling Exabyte for $28 million late last year and subsequently moved its headquarters to Exabyte's Boulder, Colo., location. With the acquisition, Tandberg got Exabyte's VXA tape technology, small-business tape autoloaders and tape libraries, an OEM relationship with Apple, and a larger U.S. channel base.

The deal followed Quantum's $770 million acquisition of ADIC earlier last year.

Tandberg also got Meghan Turner, a seven-year Exabyte veteran who now serves as Tandberg's manager of channel marketing.

Turner said the company took time to talk to its U.S. and Canadian solution providers to come up with a combined channel program, which it introduced this week.

The biggest change was to increase the front-end discounts that it offers its strategic partners -- those who commit to quarterly sales of $10,000 -- to help spur partner sales, Turner said. Though declining to specify the new discounts, she said that committing to $10,000 in sales is easy for most solution providers, which can often make that goal by selling only two products.

"We want our resellers to make more money at this level," she said. "We want to keep it simple."

Also new is a solution provider discount on professional installation by Tandberg personnel for solution providers that want to bring in third-party help on the deal, according to Turner.

"Before, we offered no discount on the services," she said. "We are now offering a very significant discount. A partner should be able to double its margins when selling the services."

Tandberg has also automated many of the processes that previously required manual labor. Those include dealer spif registration, evaluation product requests and online deal registration. The company, too, plans to streamline its online product configurator by the end of the quarter, Turner said.

Also new are custom webinars for strategic partners. Such the online seminars can be customized with the solution provider's name and partner-led topics, Turner said.

Gary York, government account manager at Gc Micro, a Petaluma, Calif.-based solution provider, said he has seen only positive changes since Tandberg acquired Exabyte.

"Tandberg is a reputable company," York said. "When we first [hear] a company is getting absorbed, we think, 'Oh, oh.' But this has been good to us."

York said the new channel program shows that the combined Tandberg-Exabyte has been thinking about its solution providers.

"We understand that distributors have similar programs, but to see that kind of help direct from the manufacturer is uncommon," he said. "To hear that all this is just around the corner will make our job easier."

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