September 20, 2020

Are you in control of your partner certification and rebate programs?

Written by Peter Olive, CEO, Vortex 6

As companies move to a new way of working caused by the pandemic, many of the partners that we work with are now reviewing how they structure their organizations to meet customers’ needs in the changed world.  Having worked remotely for five months, many are deliberating what this means, in terms of the shape of their business going forward, and how it will be affected by changing customer needs.

It’s not just about the physical office space and whether that is required in the same way as it was before government stay-at-home orders, but those firms that were forced to quickly digitize all aspects of their business will have new experience that will help them identify where they need to change their practices and where they carry unnecessary risk.

All organizations will be working in a climate where there is no certainty or clarity about the effect the struggling economy will have on their business.

We will all be focussing on making our organizations as resilient as we can and seeing how we can achieve it.

What we have learnt through lockdown is that to do this we need simple to use, scalable and repeatable processes.  We need to automate, so that anyone can pick up and run with a process should employees be off sick, need to self-isolate, are shielding or have been furloughed. As we emerge from the slow-down many organisations may also be looking at a reduction in overheads; another reason to drive this change. In effect, this means that other staff in the business should be able to action tasks even if they only have limited knowledge and training.

Why is this so important?

Business continuity will be the watchword now and going into 2021.  Whether there is a second spike or not, pockets of business disruption and change will be the ‘new normal’ and I believe that failure to automate key parts of your operation could prove to be a significant issue for your business.

Take our Cisco Partners, for example. Due to Covid-19, Partners were given a six-month extension or a waiver period on their expiration dates for active certifications.  This expires on September 16th and without a doubt there will be partners within the Cisco channel who potentially won’t be compliant because they have outstanding requirements that need to be actioned, but they don’t have the visibility to see it coming and establish what they need to do.

Today, most vendors’ rebate programs are based on partners being compliant with their partner program and if they get it wrong,  their rebate revenue could be at risk.  A good example is Cisco’s new VIP 36 program, which came into effect on July 27th.  There are changes in the products attracting rebates between VIP 35 and VIP 36. If you don’t understand the effect on your margin and make the right changes, the result can be a significantly negative impact on your rebates. Here at Vortex 6 our V6 Fusion solution automates the management of Partner Program compliance and certification and optimizes the profitability you can derive from Cisco VIP rebates.  Consequently, we recognize how important it is to not only leverage the new VIP 36 program but also, once the waiver period comes to an end, to ensure you have all the right certifications in place.

Partners failing to manage their program compliance can incur incremental costs including training and management distraction. The greater impact can come from loss of partner status, rebates, specializations, reduced discounts, being placed on get well plans plus any effect it may have on clients as engineers are taken off projects to pass exams.

Right now, it is more important than ever to maintain profitability and that means making sure that you remain compliant with vendor partner programs, otherwise you could be leaving money on the table.  Automating these processes is a sure-fire way of ensuring that you have the visibility to know exactly where you are at any point in time. It makes your business more resilient and less vulnerable to the long-term effects of Covid-19 disruption.