Until this week, Seagate Technology had a hard time finding all its small and mid-sized Canadian system builders.

The databases of the hard drive maker weren’t integrated, so it couldn’t put all the names of Canadian companies on one list.

“”I know we have a pretty brisk business

in Canada,”” said Desa Zraick, Seagate’s director of global channels said last week, “”but I really couldn’t tell you today.””

That changed this past Monday as part of a revamped partner program started by the company.

A key ingredient is a new interactive portal, which replaces Seagate’s static Web site and includes a special password-protected area for the company’s 6,000 system builders in Canada and the U.S.

Underneath it is a new customer relationship management application for registered partners. “”That will allow us to collect [partner] profiles and segment more accurately our retail tier so we’ll be able to focus promotions messaging at specific communications,”” Zraick said.

“”When we go live probably within a week we’ll be able to tell you”” how many small and medium Seagate system builders there are here, she said.

Other changes include discount access to Seagate’s product testing lab and priority pre- and post-sales support.

“”We did this to enhance our overall business proposition to the system builder,”” said Zraick.

“”The thing that’s most important to us is to provide enhancements that will allow them to get to market faster, increase their profitability and allow them to provide a higher level of customer service to their customers.””

The changes were approved by Frankie Wong of Elco Systems of Toronto.

“”Anything new from Seagate is always a plus for us,”” he said.

Main target of the changes are small or mid-size (those who have staff of under 100) white box/white book system builders or VARs that builds their own systems.

Starting this week the company revamped its Website to fill it with interactive material.

To improve technical support a dedicated 800-line with dedicated resources. System builders “”will always get priority,”” she said. Average wait time for support calls was 30 seconds, she said, but the new service “”can expect that at minimum or better.””

The Seagate design service centre, which until now was restricted to OEMs because of cost, has been opened to system builders by discounting the price of certain test suites by up to 75 per cent. The tests are used for ironing out PC and server bugs on systems in development.

To support that Seagate is now offering a increased number of its newest hard drives that system builders can use for testing. Until now smaller builders couldn’t get these products.

Along with these advanced drives they’ll get SeaTools, a tool for diagnostics and a DiscWizard utility for speeding up component qualification.

The changes are one way Seagate hopes to increase system builder loyalty and sales, said Zraick.

“”We’re hoping to see a stabilizing of our market share from week to week because system builders are getting a more significant amount of value from the program than they were before, or from the competition.””

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