Networking vendor Zyxel has appointed Peter Hannah as its head of UK channel as part of a wider channel push.
Hannah (pictured), who was most recently head of Netgear's commercial business unit, will lead a channel evolution at Zxyel which starts with a rebranding from "hardware manufacturer to a solutions provider". A new partner programme is set to follow.
"We build equipment, and we design equipment as well, but it's that end-to-end solution piece that is crucial for us, so that covers everything from WiFi through to switching and the security that wraps around that as well," he told CRN.
"Part of the change is really to say 'look, Zyxel is a provider of everything that you would need as a small to medium-sized business to connect to the internet, to connect with the world and do business'.
"The rebranding is to get away from, as every other hardware provider does, hiding behind technical jargon and to start talking to people in the business sense."
While Zyxel is perhaps best known for offering networking solutions to SMBs, Hannah explained that a lot of the firm's offerings can be scaled up to the mid-market, putting them in competition with the likes of Cisco and HP.
With this in mind, Hannah said that Zyxel will revamp its channel programme, and is looking to increase its 2,500 UK partner base by around 20 per cent.
"It's a really well-kept secret at Zyxel because we regularly sell into those mid-market and low-end enterprises but we don't appear to shout about it. We already sell those solutions today; it's just that people don't recognise it," he said.
"The resellers that target SMBs and the mid-market are absolutely appealing to us, and if those partners are selling services and looking to add new vendors, or refocus from vendors they feel are walking away from them, they are absolutely my target."
The new programme will be designed to better reward partners for the leads they bring to Zyxel instead of focusing purely on the number of boxes shifted, Hannah added.
"We won't have a huge amount of partners that do huge amounts of volume with us, so then [rewarding customers for volume] becomes irrelevant and uninteresting for a wider base of partners," he said.
"The plan is that we have partners in specific areas with specific specialisms that are rewarded for their investment."
Damian Keogh, CTO at Zyxel partner Accurro, said Zyxel's solutions-led approach makes it easier for smaller resellers to compete against larger firms that can survive on smaller margins.
Keogh explained that Accurro now uses Zyxel almost exclusively, having used the likes of Netgear and D-Link in the past, claiming there is better margin in the services that come along with hardware.
"We can't get involved in any kind of box shifting because that has been really destroyed from a margin point of view by Amazon, Ebuyer, all those, because they're buying it and selling it at just a couple of per cent more than we're buying it from Ingram or C2K," he said.
"We would far prefer to work with someone like Zyxel where we're delivering more complex solutions that our clients require and where they're willing to pay for our engineering time and our experience."
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