Optus hugs channel

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Optus has launched a formal business partner program that encourages resellers and integrators to jump on board with the telecommunications giant as it cranks up indirect channel sales.

The number two telco stepped up its channel presence to give the customer a 'choice', said Peter Williamson, Optus' general manager of partner and channel management.

It would identify partners that have particular skill sets in vertical markets and regions, he said. "As we build out our network, we will engage third-party partners to represent us in these areas. For example, Alphawest [an Optus partner] has a good pedigree in the legal vertical."

Williamson said the requirement to launch a formal partner program was inspired by the past. "We've [previously] seen a lot of ad hoc partnering taking place," he said.

The program has three levels. Alliance Program includes vendor partners such as NEC, Nortel, Cisco, Fujitsu and HP. The second, Synergy Program, is targeted at system integrator partners and includes companies like Alphawest, Netstar and Bluefire. Third, the Enterprise Program attracts high-end PABX players such as Convergency Group with has an exclusive arrangement with the telco.

Optus would work with partners in each instance to put together 'bundles' appropriate to each customer and focused on particular markets, Williamson said.

The company would also provide certification and training courses for resellers, he said.

Williamson expected that partners could address $2 billion of a $6 billion market in this country for IT and telecommunications services.

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