Sonicwall's top partners will benefit from its decision to move to a hybrid support model in EMEA, the security vendor has claimed.
From next week, support for lower-level partners and all but its largest customers will be hived off to a third-party outfit based in mainland Europe, the vendor has confirmed.
The change in tack comes less than two years after Sonicwall brought all EMEA support in-house following the opening of its Chertsey support centre.
Vice president of EMEA Andy Zollo (pictured) admitted the support centre had been dogged by high staff turnover but said the move was also designed to assure that partners and end users get the appropriate level of service.
Distributors and Gold partners – along with some key enterprise customers – will continue to be supported by Sonicwall's own engineers in Chertsey.
However, Sonicwall has trained an unnamed support firm – thought to be based in Poland – to assume control of support for Silver and Approved partners, as well as smaller customers.
The changes go live next Monday but there will be a two-month bedding-in period to fine-tune processes, Zollo said.
"We want to improve support for Gold partners and big customers that know our products inside out," Zollo said. "They need a peer-to-peer connection with a level-three engineer. We need to ensure they do not have the opportunity to get stuck behind a small customer with one TZ who has a password or configuration issue."
Zollo was confident that Silver and Approved partners will see no changes in their level of support and said both centres would have the same phone number and escalation point. "We have been training [the third party] for months and they do this for a lot of other big vendors," he added.
Zollo admitted that high staff turnover at Chertsey had influenced the move.
"The turnover issue was unhelpful," he said. "We were having to re-recruit and train people, then they would go off to a competitor. We want to give the best support in local languages; that is why a hybrid model makes sense."
Zollo declined to give details of job cuts in Chertsey but emphasised that some engineers had been successfully redeployed to Sonicwall's Arizona support centre.
SonicWall is in the process of deciding which enterprise customers qualify for in-house support but the UK number is likely to be "closer to 10 than 100", according to Zollo. The vendor's 40 UK Gold partners are being informed of the changes today.
"This will be a good recruitment tool to get people to bump up from Silver to Gold," Zollo concluded.
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