dynabook was spun out of Toshiba last year following the acquisition by Sharp - how has this first year as dynabook gone for you, and how important has the channel been to you in this time?
It has been a very exciting time for us, especially in making this transition as a 35-year-old business under the Toshiba brand. The new dynabook brand represents a dynamic and exciting new opportunity for us in terms of how we message that rebrand to the partner base.
We have a core set of partners who we've worked closely with over the last couple of years, but now under the new brand we're reaching out to more partners than ever before with a fresh programme which is built on delivering a tailored service, specific to helping them grow their business.
We're also pushing out some innovative new technology platforms as well, through which we're engaging with some other types of partners that traditionally me might otherwise not have been involved with.
You've been rolling out a refreshed partner programme over the past couple of months. Can you tell us more about the importance of the channel to your business, and what you hope to achieve with the new elements of the programme?
We're really adapting the partner programme in terms of evolving it, re-establishing it, rebranding it, and relaunching it. And yet at the same time we are staying true to our heritage. One of those great things about us as a business is that we are 100 per cent channel-focused. We've always sold 100 per cent through the channel and we continue to do so, which is a very strong facet of our partner programme.
We're also looking at how we become more relevant with our programme in terms of making it fully online and accessible via multiple platforms, ensuring we're facilitating opportunities and, above all else, simply making it easier for partners to do business with us and making sure they feel confident in doing so.
How have you seen the demand for your products change over the last few months, and how have you helped partners serve their customers over this time?
We've seen strong demand for our mobility products, which has obviously been accelerated further in the last three or four months given the nature of COVID-19 and its impact on the way people are working. We've been able to help partners not only because we had some good inventory in the country, but also through our diverse offering in terms of our product families. So we're able to support partners with that flexibility to address the requirements of a wide range of customers and meet the spike in demand.
What's now important is that we ensure we continue that dialogue and accessibility for partners. For resellers it is about ensuring their offering matches up with the needs of customers, regardless of sector - that means addressing ongoing security, connectivity and mobility needs, and we're confident our portfolio matches this requirement.
Can you talk a bit about the technology that goes into your products?
Our devices are fully equipped for 21st century mobile working. This essentially means that they are super-light, robust, highly connected, powerful, and packed with security features. We work very closely with our partners in Intel and Microsoft from a processor and OS perspective, but also on quality - for example, many devices across our range meet Microsoft's modern device criteria. Reliability is also key for us, and our devices undergo rigorous testing to ensure they're highly resilient and have the capability to operate in a range disparate conditions.
All of this is achievable because we still operate our own factory as dynabook, so in terms of the R&D and production a lot of that product is under our control, and we can ensure it's built to the right quality. We then have full confidence in those solutions when they come out of the factory, and stand behind that with our Reliability Guarantee, which promises customers a free repair and refund if the device does break down within a year of purchase.
We've also developed other product families around IoT, an area in which we're seeing a lot of business interest. We've developed a mobile edge platform called dynaEdge, a very small mobile device which is fully functional in terms of featuring up to i7 Intel processors, 512gb SSD, and is paired with an assisted-reality pair of glasses. We are seeing a great deal of interest in this from service, maintenance, and logistics companies. Take for example people who have to fly across the world to examine power stations or industrial equipment. There is a lot of excitement in that technology, where they can fly out a service pack in a case for someone on the ground to use, which feeds back to a centralised base.
How is your channel programme designed to set you apart from your competitors and maximise opportunities for partners?
We're trying to be very personal with the programme, so it's almost an individual design for specific partners but underpinned with some broad pieces.
One of the key things that sits behind that is an online deal registration tool, which gives partners the assurance that if they bring an opportunity to us it is fully protected. We also want to reward partners who bring leads early in the sales cycle with additional commercial support.
That gives them access to work exclusively with our end-user salespeople, so they can have a joint approach if they desire. They also benefit from access to product specialists and loan units, and then behind that we're offering a range of other options including services and extended warranty which allow partners to maximise their revenue and margin opportunity with that particular customer.
We've also launched ‘dynabook Rewards', which rewards sales teams for their performance with money in their pocket, loaded onto a Visa Card. This entitles users to three per cent cashback across over 50 retailers in the UK, with dynabook also covering all tax & NI contributions. This is a new incentive within the programme and only recently rolled-out, but we want to expand it to cover the entirety of our range and not just end-of-life products, which is often the case with similar schemes run by other vendors.
Last, but not least, we're also making a lot more collateral and media available which partners can tailor and use in their own marketing - including product videos, imagery to cheat sheets. This is especially useful in this ‘new normal' of the past couple of months, where salespeople can't work in the traditional face-to-face, in-person manner they are used to. So we're giving them accessibility to a wide range of online tools to help overcome this challenge.
What kind of support do partners need in the new normal?
I think beyond the personalised and tailored approach that we've covered above, it's worth reiterating that mobility is of course a hot topic right now for obvious reasons, and that's very much where our experience lies. We are the 35-year-old start-up, so that equates to 35 years of heritage in terms of advancement in mobility. We're very much pushing that envelope again - for example we recently launched the world's lightest 13.3" device - so it's about pushing that accessibility and passing that sales and marketing expertise to the partners through the programme.
Discover more about dynabook's refreshed partner programme here
This article was published in partnership with dynabook