Sybase has reaffirmed its commitment to the channel by revealing that it will continue to reduce its direct accounts in the UK and will extend the practice to the rest of Europe.
The database specialist will decrease the number of named accounts for direct account management in the UK to 60. Last year, the company reduced the number from 3,000 to 300 as part of a move to fulfil through the channel (PC Dealer, 6 May 1998). Sybase said it would duplicate the practice in Europe over the coming year.
Chris Howgego, recently appointed director of the European Software Centre at Sybase, said: 'There has been an acceptance in the industry that customers are driving the market, which is why we have established a multi-tier distribution channel. Customers get the focus they require, while our partners get a larger slice of the pie.'
Howgego defended Sybase's commitment to servicing its largest accounts direct: 'A growing number of partners are realising that they can't make margins on selling hardware or software alone. They need to provide multi-vendor systems or provide consultancy services. Sybase wants partners that can add value, but if a customer wants to specialise, the vendor still offers the best service.'
Roger Butterworth, business unit manager at Sybase distributor Clarity, welcomed the decision. 'Three or four years ago, Sybase wasn't very channel friendly, but it has listened to what the channel wants and has responded extremely well,' he said.
Sybase's European Software Centre will open early in the second quarter in Maidenhead, with the creation of 40 jobs. Howgego claimed the centre, which will provide sales and support across Europe for Sybase customers and resellers, would be an 'amalgamation of product and channel teams in Europe'.
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