Change agent: growing and developing the EDM market

our role is to support our partners in all areas Philip Zimber, sales and marketing director, Headway Technology Group.

Headway Technology Group is a specialist distributor in the document management/information management market. Established initially as a special project group, Headway has become a leading supplier of document management technologies reportedly being the first European distributor to enter this market. By entering the market at the time document technologies were conceived on a PC platform, Headway has accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years which is now acknowledged by the all of the industry's major suppliers. IT Reseller talks to Philip Zimber, sales and marketing director, Headway Technology Group, to find out how the company works with the channel.

Q: What is your route to market?

A: Headway chose to make its route to market exclusively through its channel partners for a number of reasons.

Headway made a conscious decision not to be involved as a manufacturer of hardware or software product, to allow the company to be truly independent with the advice that we give to our customers.

This independence allows our customers to introduce their customers to Headway and know that we will not try and offer any product that may compete with their own solution.

We are able to work closely with the integrators and developers from the design in stage of the project with their customers and provide the right components for our customers to put together a solution.

Q: Why do you think partners and customers choose to work with Headway?

A: Headway has remained a truly independent distributor since it entered the document management market in 1985, which has given the confidence to our trade customers that they can obtain best-of-breed products from an unbiased distributor who can recommend the best product for the business application.

In addition to this our customers choose to deal with Headway because they know that we have twenty years experience and knowledge of the document management industry that can assist our trade partners at the end user level if required, without any fear of the business being taken direct.

Our business development team is employed to work exclusively with our customers at the end-user level to advise on all aspects of product from capture, viewing (displays) using dual-panel technology through to storage architecture from SAN to optical archive.

Q: How do you support your channel partners?

A: Our high level of pre- and post-sales support has proved to be a great asset to our partners as a knowledge base that they can tap into. In addition every Headway employee recognises that we are all in sales and our role is to support our partners in all areas, ranging from the initial specification through integration with their solution, right through to delivery/installation and after-sales service via the Headway Imagecare programme.

The sales team at Headway are all very knowledgeable about our industry and products and operate total account responsibility. This means consistency, even if the customers account manager is unavailable due to holiday, etc.

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

A: The Headway demonstration facilities are unsurpassed in the UK as we have all of the best-of-breed scanners at our customers disposal to demonstrate to their own customers and are able to test the machines with their own documents. Our customers have full access to the demonstration room and are able to book for their own client meetings and either request for Headway personnel to be present or simply work with their customer in privacy. This facility is available to customers new or old, large or small.

Additionally customers are encouraged to hold seminars or sales meetings at the Headway offices, where we are able to work with the customer to ensure that the day is successful and generates business for our customer or just simply to update and educate the customers sales force.

It is the purpose of our business development team to look at the whole spectrum of the end user requirement and recommend additional product to enable the smooth deployment of a solution. Many document management systems face the risk of never reaching their full potential if the end user does not consider the impact on his existing IT infrastructure. Often these recommendations will lead to an increased revenue stream for our customers while the end user reaps the benefit of a well thought through deployment.

Q: What kind of skills do you look for when recruiting partners?

A: Our partners range from the very experienced system integrators to resellers who are just entering the document management market. Headway's role is to help develop and grow the EDM market. We can therefore work with partners at all skill levels and provide a whole range services to meet their needs. Whether this is basic education of where each product fits and how they work together, or right up to higher-level education for in-depth integration needs.

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