Mitel plans to drop a large chunk of its distribution partners in EMEA as part of a review process to be carried out this year.
Speaking to CRN sister publication Channelnomics Europe at the firm's Mitel Next conference in Munich, EMEA channel boss Richard Roberts said Mitel currently has 65 distribution partners in EMEA, a number that will fall rapidly as the review process gets under way.
"Our expectation of distributors has changed and what we would like our distribution partners to do is anything from inventory profiling, through to pre-sales service to creating that exceptional experience all the way through to professional services, potentially," he said.
"Any vendor worth their salt continues to do that review and make sure they are fit for purpose. And it's fairer for the distribution partners as well. If there is insufficient opportunity for a distributor to invest, they simply can't invest. Getting the balance right is something we're absolutely committed to doing in each and every country."
Roberts said the distribution review is "ongoing", with global sales boss Todd Abbott claiming the cuts will be completed around the middle of 2018. He said the process stems from the acquisitions Mitel made last year in the shape of Toshiba and ShoreTel.
"We have too many disties," he said. "And it is not allowing the disties to invest to really support the channels. We need fewer, stronger distribution partners and to give them enough business to truly do value-add distribution to our partners."
Jeremy Butt, senior VP of EMEA and APAC at Mitel, said that each major European country will be catered for by more than one partner, and Mitel will look to work with both pan-EMEA and local distributors.
Westcon has been named Mitel's only pan-European distributor for the time being.
The distribution review has already been completed in Mitel's North American business where the vendor reduced its ranks to just three distributors.
Its review follows the launch of Mitel's new Global Partner Programme, which will officially launch this April.
Jeremy Butt claims the new programme aims to help its channel partners shift to Mitel's UCaaS portfolio, while still remaining profitable in more traditional on-premise business.
"It brings together elements from both Mitel and ShoreTel - whether partners want to sell cloud or on-premise, we had to achieve that in the same programme," he said
The programme now only has three tiers: Authorised, Gold and Platinum, having dropped its mid-level Silver tier from the previous programme.
Mitel partners will be assigned to the programme through a points-based system taken from a model adopted by ShoreTel before it was acquired. Resellers will now be assessed on more than just hitting revenue thresholds, claimed Roberts.
"Instead of doing pure revenue for certification grades for example, you allocate points - for example you could get points for every $10 of monthly recurring revenue for a cloud solution, or you could get points for every $500 of an onsite capex solution. Then with the point system, you can reward partners for how they are investing," he said.
"It was born out of experience with ShoreTel. We could reward for particular vertical market penetration, we could reward them for investing in a customer solution, or investing deep in technical skills so their customer experience ratings are at the top of the scale. That takes an element of cost away from us, but also invests in the value of the partnership you have. In the old days you had to wait for the revenue to tick up before you could reward that, whereas under the point system you don't have to wait for the revenue, because the behaviour will get the right outcome."
Resellers will be reassigned on the new programme this month, claims Abbott, but he said he does not anticipate a big shake-up in the spread of Mitel partners on the programme.
"Everyone gets re-classed. There are some platinum that won't make it, but if you are a gold or silver today, the odds are, you are gold," he said.
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