Acer culls topped with new signing

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Acer has concluded its year of channel culls by signing corporate reseller Harris Technology as a Gold Partner.

Acer has concluded its year of channel culls by signing corporate reseller Harris Technology as a Gold Partner.

Greg Mikaelian, national channel manager at Acer Computer Australia, said the deal filled a hole in the vendor's channel ranks as most of its national resellers were VARs or integrators.

“We have retailers that put out catalogues, but they don't put them out to medium business. Most of [our other resellers] have a different business model,” he said.

Importantly, the deal would help Acer get more leverage within the massive Coles Myer Group, of which Harris Technology is a subsidiary company. Also, Acer and Harris were both targeting the government, SMB and education sectors, he said.
“Harris Technology has very good branding. They have got a very good reseller business model. And with David [Foster]'s leadership, since new management came in, they're looking at growth,” Mikaelian said. “And Harris is part of Coles Myer, which is very important to us.”

Acer has slashed its channel partner numbers this year. “In terms of direct resellers, we now have 30 Gold and 30 to 40 Silver partners -– a total of about 70 or 80 including retail, after culling our channel at the end of November,” Mikaelian said.

He said Acer –- which does all its business via the channel -– had 120 Silver partners last year but had pared back to 40 in the last 12 months. Gold partner numbers were halved by November, and Acer had also culled a distributor, Alloys International.

Mikaelian said the culls were part of Acer's ongoing annual review process. “We are looking at that all the time. We will end up with a finite number of direct channel partners, a number we can maintain,” he said. “We want to get a better return for our resources.”

Most culls had been related to poor performance and partners whose performance seemed to be falling were regularly reviewed. Those left were very committed, he added.

He pointed to Acer's 2003 growth rate as proof of the strategy's success, but said he couldn't give actual revenue. The company's distribution business -– which includes its SMB sales -– had grown about 100 percent this year and its retail business about 300 percent, he said.

“At the end of every year, we look at what we've done. I think we've got the channel now and Harris is definitely a direct reseller that we believe will add value,” Mikaelian said.

He said Harris also had good deployment of its sales people. The reseller will adopt Acerlink and Acer's online trading hub, APec, to configure customers' systems, create quotations and place orders. Harris will also be able to offer Acer's two-hour warranty service on notebooks and instant exchange service on handhelds, Mikaelian said.



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