Why Schneider Electric’s partner program ‘definitely needed’ to evolve

Schneider Electric’s local channel chief Astrid Groves explains the decisions behind updating the 40-year-old program.
Astrid Groves (Schneider Electric)

Astrid Groves (Schneider Electric)

Schneider Electric has refreshed its partner program in what it claims is its “most significant IT partner program update” to date and its local channel chief has said it’s a change that was “definitely needed”. 

According to the vendor, the new mySchneider IT Partner Program will offer a “simplified, innovative and collaborative approach to enabling partner growth”, focusing on specialisations and giving partners the opportunity to certify in one or more certifications.

The partner program will change through multiple phases over the next 12 to 18 months, which will cover the three streams of data centre solution providers, software and services providers and IT solutions providers, with the latter stream available now.

The IT solutions provider stream includes a dashboard with real-time business updates and data, business-specific tools, deal registration discounts that surpass those from Schneider Electric’s Edge Opportunity Registration (ORP) platform and dedicated support and account coverage.

Also included is the return of its reward program, mySchneider Rewards, with partner members able to save points that can be redeemed for over 60,000 items, experiences and merchandise, among other rewards.

More details about the new program are expected to be revealed by the vendor later next month.

But why change the partner program at all? Astrid Groves, Schneider Electric’s general manager for channels, alliances and operations for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, told ARN that the channel landscape had  changed since the old program was established 40 years ago and it had to change the program to match the times.

“It was not built for the current environment that we have today or the partner base that we have today and the partner base we want to have in the future as well,” she said. 

“When I've been speaking to new partners, they haven't seen value as well. So, when we're talking to partners, as well as potential partners that we want to work with as well [we take] that feedback from both sides.” 

Those discussions were sourced from hundreds of interviews and surveys with partners, she claimed, as well as discussions with analysts and even looking at other channel programs, with the vendor inspecting the "industry leaders"  – HPE, Cisco and Microsoft, Groves identified –  and their programs for inspiration. 

Out of those discussions, the channel chief claimed that 60 per cent of the vendor’s partner base globally said they wanted a more relevant structure to the program that is transparent in how they can move through the tiers of the program and gain more benefits. 

“While our four-tier program has served us very well in the past and had served our channel well and our customers well, it's clear that it's not based on the different roles that our channel players play in the outcomes that we're delivering to customers,” she said.

“The old program was very one-dimensional in that the more you sell for us, the higher you will get and the more benefits we would give you. That's not the play that we need."

Groves added that what Schneider Electric learnt from the older iteration of its program was that the vendor needs to have the "right focus of enablement and animation" on its partners, which in turn helps customers access the technology, solutions and outcomes they require.

“That's a big piece of learning that you can take out of a program," she said.

“To do that, but on a broader scale, and more different types of businesses, is the aim of the new program.”