BMC Software Inc. is launching a new partner program that streamlines the channel programs of several of its major acquisitions over the past two years.

The BMC Partner Network, which goes live April 1, will consolidate partner programs from Remedy, IT Masters, Marimba, Viadyne & Calendria,

and Magic.

“”We tried to make this a global program,”” said BMC executive Paige Erickson. “”We were very interested in getting feedback. As VP channels and alliances, I go all over the place from Europe to Asia-Pac. The requests were similar. They really felt you needed to get to one partner program that would enable them to more easily do business with us, and with their customers.””

As part of the new partner network, BMC’s sales approach will focus entirely on business service management for the first time. It will align partners with eight “”routes to value”” – including service level management, infrastructure and application management, and change and configuration management. As part of the network, BMC will offer partners specific training and certification paths on the eight routes to value as a way to enhance their competencies.

Gavin Hood, vice-president of sales and manager of ESI Technolgies’ Toronto branch, said he was impressed by how BMC went about implementing the partner network. He said companies sometimes focus more on recruiting partners when rolling out a new channel strategy. In this case, he is glad BMC is committed to helping its existing partners do better business.

“”As soon as the new program was ready they sat down with us for a long meeting to help us understand what it means — what are the various phases,”” Hood said.

“”They told us where they see value from us today and where would they like us to go down the road both from a product standpoint in terms of licensing, and also from a consulting services value proposition. It’s been very well broken out,”” he said.

Hood said he was also happy to see involvement from BMC’s senior executives, adding he came away impressed following a phone conference with senior executives in which ESI’s skill sets were discussed and how they can be developed.

“”To me, it shows signs of executive commitment from the top, which is very very useful,”” he said. “”We’ve seen a lot of programs fail because at the local level there’s interest, but then the reality is that the company is not that partner-oriented to begin with,”” Hood added.

According to Erickson, BMC didn’t spend a lot of money developing the new partner network compared to what other companies spent revamping their programs. Erickson discovered this first-hand during a conversation with a Symantec executive at an event in New Orleans. Symantec is now in the process of merging Veritas’ partners with its own.

“”They have hired consultants and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars,”” Erickson said. “”We obviously got feedback on what were best practices. We knew we wanted to come out of the chute with a world-class program – that was our absolute goal. “”But I think by really using the various people from Remedy and BMC, pulling those teams together, to work together to develop a unified program, I think actually we are a very strong team because of it,”” Erickson added.

So what can Canadian VARs expect with the new network? While Erickson said there’s nothing specific to the Canadian channel, she did say the BSM and routes to value approach taken by BMC will benefit certain resellers.

“”The whole ITIL (IT infrastructure libraries) movement, which came from Europe, is a very big issue with the IT community in Canada,”” said Erickson.

“”For Internet partners that have built practices around ITIL, that I think is a real benefit to them because it enables them to link very easily the ITIL practices to BMC products and services that they can then go out and sell to customers,”” she added.

While Hood doesn’t see anything in the BMC partner network that will benefit the Canadian channel specifically, he figures Canadian partners will benefit from the company’s ongoing review process.

“”Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good overall agreement,”” he said. “”I didn’t see anything focused on Canada necessarily. As a general process, it allows territory managers to sit down with us to identify shortcomings and say ‘Here’s how you can help us,'”” Hood added.

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