Motorola announced, last week, that it will add two new tracks to its PartnerEmpower program that it launched earlier this year. New tracks include mobile solutions and radio solutions to compliment the existing wireless solutions track. The tracks aren’t officially live until the first quarter of 2011, but VSR sat down with Motorola’s Mike deVente, North American vice president of Channels to learn more about the announcement and what it means for the company’s partners.
What is PartnerEmpower and how does it differentiate itself from your other partner programs?
We aren’t changing any of the individual partner programs that we had in radio solutions, mobile solutions or wireless network solutions. What we are doing is putting them all under one umbrella program called the Empower program, which is more of a consistent and standard engagement with Motorola for our partners. It’s also a consistent and standard engagement from our partners’ engagement with end users. This is through the concept of certification and badging. That’s really the big change that you are going to see.
Can you describe the certification program?
In each of these tracks we have a couple of certifications that partners could invest in to get. The PartnerEmpower program is about not just your contribution, but your commitment and investment in Motorola solutions. The levels of certification that you can achieve as a partner are: authorized, specialist or elite specialist. To achieve each level implies that you have made significant investments in capability development in your organization—both sales and technical—to understand and implement Motorola solutions.
For the partners, this means they have an improved ability to differentiate themselves [from the competition]. And that’s really what they want—they can differentiate themselves from other partners in the industry. That badging and investment is visible to the end user and when they look at an elite specialist in radio frequency identification or in some digital radio tracking, they have the confidence that Motorola is standing behind the partner to implement a solution for them.
So what’s changing and why are you doing this?
There are a couple of things that are changing, but it’s more of an evolution. We don’t want to disrupt the business significantly and people will recognize when they see the roll out and the framework. For the most part, it’s bringing the frameworks together and it’s creating very clear rules of engagement for the entire Motorola channel. We have 6,000 partners in North America under the same program and we don’t want anyone to think that everybody is selling everybody’s products. That’s not the way it works. You are in a track that you are always in, and if you want to expand your foothold that is possible to, but we are going to clearly articulate the investments that you are going to have to make to do that. We are also going to take advantage of the change to introduce some new components across the tracks, including deal registration. Deal registration is one of the benefits of the new program that we’re folding in and it’s the ability for our partners to register a program and get an advance on Motorola services for any project that they are working on.
How do ISVs fit into the program?
Another component that is different is ISV Rewards. We folded in a component in the ISV Rewards program that rewards them for time and sales to different parts of the business. We take some of the gross margin of the deal and pass it to the ISV so that in addition to selling their application they are going to get a piece of the hardware, and it doesn’t disrupt the partner who’s using their application or any of his economics at all.
One of the big things about our two-way radio business is that we’re getting ready to digitize the entire install base of two-way radios in North America in the next five to ten years. We started digitizing it already with the launch of our new radio. When an industry changes from analog to digital, just the surge of applications and enhanced functionality that comes from those devices creates an enormous opportunity for our partners to bring enhanced solutions to their end users. We’ve already seen many ISVs get involved and interested in the radio piece of the business.
How can partners join the program?
People in the partner programs right now would be extended an initiation to the PartnerEmpower program and would be grandfathered into the program. Many of them have made the investments for the certification already and that would be identified for them. From a recruiting standpoint, we always have a recruiting mechanism and activities that are going on. They can always go to the website and enroll there, as always, but the advantage now is that they can go to one place instead of three places to register.