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With lockdown in the UK entering its third week, the consequences of the virus are starting to be felt and vendors have begun to adapt their channel programmes to provide more flexibility to partners.
Exclusive Networks has shown that distributors can also play a role, and is launching a hub based around five key pillars: business continuity and sustainability, support, protection, productivity and people (see box below).
The channel player will also be acting as the aggregation point for supplier-specific Covid-19 support programmes to ensure that resellers keep on top of the latest developments. A number of vendors have already made changes, including HP, Microsoft and Extreme Networks, and more are expected to follow in the next few days.
The distributor intends to share advice and help around technical issues, financing and supply chain pressure. The emphasis is on being a source of practical help, with Exclusive sharing an example that it would assist with peak demand for configuration and deployment and serve as an overflow for customer helpdesks to ease the pressure on partner engineering resources.
Barrie Desmond, Exclusive Networks
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions and people,” said Barrie Desmond, senior vice-president of marketing and communications at Exclusive Networks. “Despite the severity, uncertainty and rapidly changing nature of the situation, the willingness of our people to adapt and maintain service and support, in close harmony with our vendors and channel partners, is a great testament to the spirit, camaraderie, resolve and resilience in the channel.
“The Partner Support Hub is our attempt to simplify the considerations any partner would have in maintaining the customer experience, employee wellbeing and productivity, which are crucial when our partners’ resources are under such demand. There is a certain amount of communication fatigue in the channel and among users at the moment, with propositions coming from every angle, some even appearing opportunistic,” he added.
Resellers are dealing with customers coping with unusual scenarios, with staff working remotely who perhaps have never been allowed to do so before, putting even more stress on reseller helpdesks.
“With so many novice home workers now dispersed, it is important to consider their wellbeing and safeguarding. For nearly all of us, this is a new experience. Keeping the lights on now and preparing to sustain partner businesses during this crazy time is critical, so we’re offering any assistance we can in terms of business continuity and stability,” said Desmond.
Key support measures available on request are:
Business continuity and sustainability
- Drop ship services
- Customer direct deliveries
- Backup storage and holding
- Credit control assistance
- Currency volatility management
- Pre- and post-sales engineering (complimentary where appropriate)
- Rapid response support for essential services customers and frontline workers
- Overflow helpdesk
- Quick-start education packages
- Access to virtual training rooms in local language
- Express deployment of remote workforce solutions
- Extended free trial periods for key technologies
- Application performance and expansion solutions – web and on-premise
- Network performance upgrades for massive increase in traffic and concurrent user contention
- Extending corporate resources for virtual machines virtual desktop infrastructure
- Provision for infrastructure stress and failure – disaster recovery, backup and archiving
- Employee and customer user wellbeing resources
- Cyber safeguarding resources and training
- Communications advice and best practice