Channel Post speaks with Hesham El Komy, Senior Director, International Channel at Epicor Software on the benefits that their revamped partner program offers the partner community.
What was the reason behind revamping your partner program?
We have had a partner program in place for long and this has evolved over time. As senior director my number one priority was to review the entire partner landscape, everything from our partner program to the geographical and vertical partner mix to the partners themselves. The goal was to widen our geographical reach and vertical expertise, deliver best-in-class customer service and ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction by establishing a strong channel.
What changes have you brought about and how do they affect your partner community?
Under the new program, we reward our partners based on the value they add to our ecosystem, irrespective of their size and brand. In addition to being rewarded for their exceptional work, they’re also incentivised for making improvements in areas of their business where they may be less proficient.
In the old program, reward structure was tied solely to revenue which meant that a partner could achieve the highest status level by virtue of a single multi-million-dollar deal. This favoured the larger partners over smaller ones that often had specialisations like specific vertical experiences, technical capabilities or professional services but didn’t have the ability to achieve a higher status level just because of their size. As a result, many of these smaller partners with excellent capabilities and specialisations felt side lined both by us and the customers. These smaller partners brought significant value to the table by allowing us to capitalise on their specialisations but were not getting rewarded for this, which led to the decision to revamp the program.
For existing partners there is going to be a dramatic change in the way we conduct business and I fully expect that there will be a learning curve for both our partners and us. That being said, for those that have opted to be part of the new program, we are committed to helping them capitalise on this program.
How will the new program help partners grow their business and margins?
Earlier our partner program had three partner tiers with tier status tied solely to license/subscription revenue. There was no incentive for partners to grow their business in other ways, for example, by adding certified technical salespeople or marketing resources. Under the new program, we reward our partners based on the value they add to our ecosystem. They are rewarded for doing what they do well but just as importantly, they are incentivised for making improvements in areas of their business where they may be less proficient.
You have rolled out this program to partners across the region — how has it been received?
When we started rolling out this program to our partner network, not surprisingly, the first reaction was one of concern. Some partners have been with us for over 20 years and were used to the old way of interacting and doing business with Epicor. So this revamped program was like a new start for them with a completely different approach.
However, once we sat down with them and had a chance to explain the benefits in the program and how being part of the program will challenge them and allow them to build more robust and profitable businesses, become an integral part of the Epicor ecosystem and most importantly, deliver best-in-class customer service, the partners were eager to participate. Partners that have joined us more recently have been very excited about the program because they see it as a differentiator from the other vendors, giving them the chance to excel and do what they do best.
What are your expectations of your partner community?
We are trying to grow a more sophisticated and powerful partner ecosystem in which we focus on quality over quantity. The expectation is to have our partners offer a whole suite of services. They should in effect be able to run an Epicor business by themselves with minimal touch. And what’s in it for them? Well, the more they can do, the more they make!