Corel at the crossroads

There’s good news and more good news in the reseller channel these days.

I refer to the following two quotes that speak to these happy developments:

  • Quote number one: “”We are committed to running 100 per cent of our sales through the channel.”” That quote is by John Deegan,

    Corel’s new vice-president of channel sales, who proves once again that most of the good people come from Winnipeg.

  • Quote number two: “”That is one thing that has really changed here in Canada.”” That quote is from Fred Dimson, general manager for Veritas Canada, commenting on the news that with the next release of Backup Exec for Windows Servers, Veritas Software Corp.’s reseller partners can market Veritas’s number one backup and recovery software product to Canadian businesses in the small to medium-sized category. Veritas Canada partners will also be selling Veritas support and services for Backup Exec.

For Corel it was a failed experiment that had the company attempting to combine direct sales with its channel distribution model. However, the strategy was not without its humanitarian merits. Over the past two years, Corel had acquired Micrografx Inc. and its iGrafx business process tools and SoftQuad Software Ltd. and its xMetaL XML editor.

Both companies had sales staffs working directly with enterprise customers.

Rather than taking either a heavy-handed or less than compassionate approach to bringing the staffs of the acquired companies into the Corel domain, Corel decided it would continue to let the new marketing teams continue their direct selling. But it wasn’t working and Deegan was brought in to implement the changes that would put those products solely into the channel.

Corel officials are on the record saying that no staff members have been dropped due its decision to end all direct sales and those direct sales people will be trained to work with the channel.

Not that Corel hadn’t already done its share of staff reductions. Just before Deegan arrived, 220 employees were released and management was reorganized as a strategy to stem the red ink and get back into the black by this year’s end.

In January, Corel announced that a number of software developers had purchased iGrafx to become components of their products, and, according to Deegan, this should be a solid revenue opportunity for VARs and distributors.

Meanwhile, another growing area is being created by new government regulations in both Canada and the U.S. requiring that literally all e-mails be warehoused and be available for inspection if and when audits are required. Since we’re all living on e-mail these days, and increasingly so, Veritas products that simplify storage and retrieval of e-mail are guaranteed to grow in popularity. The scenario just gets rosier with the fact that the Veritas products are targeted at small and medium-sized businesses. And rosier still because of the prosperity hangover that has found companies owning several ‘technology islands’ that are not based on compatible standards.

Resellers specializing in helping these companies integrate these technologies should find the Veritas products attractive to customers that are challenged by an environment that is populated with disparate technologies.

James Buchok is a former editor of Computer Dealer News, now freezing in Winnipeg, but he keeps longer. jbuchok@mts.net.

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