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Seagate unveils new channel partner program 

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DQW Bureau
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Seagate Technology has announced its latest `Expansion of Channel Partner'

program for India. This will be followed by a launch in the other SAARC

countries. The company also informed plans of a foray into the consumer

electronics and mobile segments.

Sharad Srivastava, Country Manager (India), Seagate, informed in a media

briefing that the new program is taking the existing `Reseller Channel Program'

a step ahead and consists of three elements--the Seagate SCSI Partner Program,

the Seagate Integrator Partner Program, and the Seagate Enterprise Partner

Program.

Seagate also announced a `Swap Center' for warranty replacements of Seagate

drives. A reward scheme for the channel has also been announced. "The new

program is aimed at every tier of the channel--right from the resellers at C, D

category cities to partners providing enterprise solutions," pointed out

Srivastava.

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Eligibility criterion for the Seagate SCSI Partners Program is a clear focus

on SCSI products, which can be ascertained by volumes. Subsets of SIP partners,

and having technical team to handle customer queries and troubleshooting (one

Seagate certified engineer within 30 days of signing) also fit the bill.

System builders and assemblers, selling HDD as a part of a solution or a PC

system, will be eligible for the Seagate Integrator Partner Program. The SIPs

will primarily cater to the SOHO, SMEs and the home user segments. Emphasis is

also on a technical team to handle customer queries and troubleshooting.

Large system integrators selling HDDs as part of a solution will be eligible

for the Seagate Enterprise Partner Program, but they have to buy the products

from an authorized source, be it a distributor or a SIP. The enterprise partners

will offer facility management services, or consultancy in systems and network

administration and maintenance. A Seagate certified engineer should be employed

for service management.

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Benefits to these partners will include recognition, in terms of a plaque

announcing the partnership and a mention in the Seagate accredited partner

directory. Dedicated Seagate consultants for queries and business development

support, a dedicated web access, and technical support on a priority basis, are

some of the other goodies. "The company will also update the partners on

all the leads gathered," informed Srivastava.

As far as training is concerned, Seagate will offer the partners Certified

Engineer training, along with the regular product and technology training and

e-learning opportunities. It will also offer support in terms of POP material

and other merchandise.

Partners will be eligible to participate in the annual Seagate Strategic

Partner Program. "There are also sales volume-based incentive schemes

coming up," disclosed Srivastava.

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Commenting on the market dynamics, he said, "In B, C, D class cities,

the dividing line between assemblers and resellers is thin. Another interesting

trend that we are witnessing is that enterprises now do not want three HDDs,

they want terabytes of solution."

Surfgold.com, a online loyalty rewards program network, has been roped in by

Seagate for its rewards program, targeted at the import partners and storage

partners in India. The entire network of 15 import partners and some 350 storage

partners spread out across 36 Indian cities will be eligible for the same. The

partners can buy components from other Surfgold clients as well to secure

additional points. As a part of the launch kit, Seagate will provide

participants with a user ID and a password, with which they can log in to a

secured web page, and know the number of points secured and the corresponding

kitty of rewards instantly.

Explaining the rational behind the Seagate Swap Centers, Srivastava, said,

"Repairing an HDD involves time, which the customers may not have." As

opposed to the Seagate Authorized Service Centers, the Swap Centers, so called

because these centers will just have a buffer of various HDDs, and will be

replacing a faulty HDD for a fresh one, during the warranty period, will not be

having any facilities for repair.

He admitted that Samsung was following an aggressive marketing strategy, but

declined to perceive Samsung as a threat. "The competition does not have

ownership technology, or the penetration, nor the R&D spend. You have to

understand, for Seagate, HDDs are the core business--not so for Samsung. It may

do well for a short span of time, in certain pockets, but not in the long

run."

Cyber News Service

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