IT asset management offers channel opportunities

Andy Burton,new CEO of Centennial, sees a real opportunity for the European channel in IT asset management, an area that has under-valued and ignored by resellers and end users for so long. He is keen to promote this message to potential partners who have not previously looked at the asset management space.

Q: What is Centennials route to market?

A: Centennial has a 100% indirectsales model; we will only sell through accredited resellers, service providers and through OEM relationships. In the UK, Centennial has a single-tier Value Added Reseller base. Centennial does not normally sell through distributors, dealing instead directly with VARs and SIs.

End users purchase software and receive front-line support directly from their reseller, although we do offer user forums and regular communication about our products to our extensive user base.

Q: Why do you think partners and customers choose Centennial?

A: The IT Asset Management market and specifically IT Discovery sector is one of the few areas of real growth in the technology market. This is largely due to a combination of increased awareness among organizations of the importance of having 100 per cent visibility of the corporate network, and the introduction of recent domestic and international legislation such as Sarbanes Oxley.

However, the primary driver for any software purchase today is typically to deliver an enhanced return on investment, and as such Centennial is a 'slam dunk.' It offers end users the ability to optimise both software licences and hardware deploymentwith a view to achieving real cost savings, network vulnerability assessment and effective project planning for infrastructure changes.

For customers, IT Discovery is the building block for almost any IT project. Whether the goal is to achieve software license compliance or a painless migration from NT to XP, the key to success is to know what your IT inventory is - then you can plan (efficiently and cost-effectively) for what needs to be done.

For partners, solutions like Centennial Discovery offer the opportunity to not only create new revenue streams around the Centennial product portfolio and associated services, but also the chance to realise additional revenues from their existing portfolio. That is, by adding discovery capabilities to a help desk implementation, for example, the reseller can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to close a job - providing a real return on investment for the customer. Equally a reseller using Discovery to assist in a License Compliance initiative can also help fulfil any Licence shortfalls identified.

The investment required for partners to start realising revenues from Centennial products is both balanced and reasonable focusing on technical competence and relevant market reach. The product is relatively straight-forward to sell and has a wide range of business applications, which make it attractive to many types of VAR, specialist or otherwise.

Q: 3. How do you support your channel?

A: Centennial has always supported its channel with sales, marketing and technical assistance. The new program gives the chance to formalise this and ensure that those partners who show real commitment to our products get the most benefit out of their relationship Centennial. All Channel partners are internally sponsored with a dedicated Account Manager, common business plans are drawn up and agreed and Centennial provides training for both Sales and Technical staff to get the partner Accredited to sell and support Discovery. Often, the initial activity following Accreditation is a joint marketing initiative to generate leads, and Quarterly reviews are held to ensure the VAR and Centennial are aligned with their business objectives and execution plans.

Q: What benefits and incentives do you offer to your existing partners/new partners?

A: The new partner program features three level of VAR partnership: Platinum, Gold and Authorized. Each level of partner is incentivised according to their organisational focus, technical ability, revenue generation and commitment to Centennial products. In addition to generous discounts, partners receive access to the co-op marketing fund (a first for Centennial), marketing collaterals, technical support resources and free sales training. The Platinum Partners are also able to join the Centennial Channel Council, a forum for sharing business strategy, roadmap priorities, marketing initiatives and sales incentives with Centennial's senior management.

Q: At what times of the year do you recruit new partners?

A: All year round! We're always keen to hear from new potential partners if they are a good fit for our products. We have a specific recruitment programme underway at this time to coincide with our new Channel Programme and imminent product launches.

Q:. Do you want new partners now?

A: Yes. We are aiming to double out existing partner network by early 2005. Centennial has a great existing partner base, but we are confident that the new program will make our solutions more attractive to a wider range of VARs. We are particularly interested to forge closer links with security resellers, a new market sector that is emerging, as we see a strong joint message between the security and IT Asset Management sectors, particularly around understanding and rectifying network, hardware and software vulnerabilities.

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