One of the things I'm hoping to use this space for is to flag up some of the new vendor partner programmes in our corner of the industry.
It sometimes seems that barely a week goes by without at least one new firm pitching a new programme, and many of them have high hopes for channel success in the UK and EMEA.
I genuinely believe the networking sector is hands down the most interesting part of the multi-faceted IT industry. Desktops and printers are all well and good (and very necessary components of a business solution) but to do anything these days, you have to connect yourself to the Internet and you have to communicate once you've got there.
Over two years ago in MicroScope's 25th Anniversary Edition, industry-veteran John McHugh, then with HP ProCurve and now at Brocade said: "I defy anybody to name an revolution in IT since 1997 that has not involved or required networking. It is the substrate around which all IT innovation occurs." Words I hope we can all get behind.
So networkers are in the business of selling innovation, and last week we spoke with two relatively small vendors, BigFix and Peer 1, that are attempting to build out new channels to market in the UK.
BigFix, a specialist in network security management hailing from California, launched its programme at the end of March. It hopes to establish itself as a top tier player in the sector, and regards McAfee, Symantec and Microsoft as its major competitors.
Its technology is predicated on enabling mobile workers to look after their own security by allowing the end-point device, whether a smartphone or netbook device, to pro-actively defend itself against potential threats while out in the wild, and prevent those threats from being released onto the corporate network.
Senior product manager Jim Hansen claimed the disruptive nature of the firm's technology ought to be attractive to partners as "it allows customers to take decisions about their infrastructure that they have never been able to before."
The programme will deliver the usual perks, such as business development, channel marketing, field engineering support, alongside certification training and services education.
BigFix says it plans to target VARs, managed service providers and OEMs specialising in the SMB and midmarket space.
Peer 1 launched in the UK a year ago, having got its start in Canada at the turn of the century, and specialises in.managed hosting services through a network of 17 datacentres, 21 points-of-presence and 10 colocation facilities in North America and EMEA.
Its new programme has been imported from the North American theatre, where it was recently revamped in an attempt to make it more straightforward, CEO Fabio Banducci told MicroScope.
It includes four levels of partnership with varying features including the marketing collateral and support, lead generation, sales engineers and dedicated account managers. An online portal will be launched later in May and a training programme will launch in 2011, said Banducci.
"We are looking for partners that are viewed as trusted advisors by end-users and who have deep relationships with their customer base," he said.
"Lots of people will talk about a channel programme, but we believe you need a meaningful degree of scale to operate that. A lot of smaller providers are challenged to bring resources and expertise and we are already set up to support this," he explained.