Hewlett Packard (HP) has relaunched its Channel Assembly Programme (Cap), brought Specialist Computer Holdings' ETC distribution arm into the scheme, and has made Cap available online.
Under the old Cap scheme, resellers could contact HP distributor Northamber by telephone to build PCs to order. The new scheme allows resellers to configure PCs from ETC and Northamber over the web. The PCs are then processed and shipped directly to the end user by the distributor.
"We have finally got a mechanism to compete with Dell, and we haven't pushed our channel out of the equation," said Graham Long, channel development manager at HP. "It is time for us to play in their back-yard."
The online option will be offered to around 200 resellers at first, Long explained, and then will be open to all HP resellers. It is expected to launch within the next two to three weeks.
The company has also announced that its entire channel strategy will now come under the umbrella title of Business Partner Programme. To qualify, resellers must place technical and sales employees on an HP training programme, and turnover £50,000 worth of HP business a year.
Other more specialist HP partner programmes, such as the Networking Channel Programme or the Partner E-business Programme, will now come under the Business Partner name.
Steve Brazier, managing director at analyst Canalys.com, said the online scheme is a good idea. "One of Dell's competitive advantages is configuring to order. This scheme removes that advantage and may give HP the edge over Compaq and IBM," he said.
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