BT will begin promoting its reseller partners to end-users over the next six to nine months, as it prepares to push new technologies.
BT Indirect Channels (BTIC) director, Mark Hollister, said BT's focus on "new-wave technology" such as data and voice converged networking products would mean business for the channel.
Hollister admitted: "BT has never really promoted its channel to customers." But he added: "Once we have the right channel in place we will promote it. When a customer needs a certain product we can point them in the direction of a partner."
BTIC is actively seeking high-end networking integrators as well as local area network resellers for the small and medium-sized enterprise sector, to ensure it has the right skills base to promote to customers.
Hollister is ambitious about BTIC's potential. "It may take four or five years but the indirect channel will account for more new-wave sales than direct sales," he said.
"We want to grow our data-related sales by 13 per cent next year through direct and indirect sales."
BT will coax resellers of networking equipment with the offer of a strong brand as well as education in emerging technologies such as broadband and mobility.
Keith Humphreys, analyst at EuroLAN Research, noted the importance of BT's move to promote the channel to customers.
"It is critical because the channel is not always the obvious place for customers to buy equipment, because BT often resells other vendor products itself," he said.
Humphreys added that networking value-add resellers (Vars) that partner BT will be able to add margin, even though "it won't make them rich".
He said when a company plans a networking roll-out, the first point of contact is its connectivity provider. "This will be good for resellers because they can get into deals early as a BT point of contact."
But BTIC may have its work cut out to persuade some data Vars of the merit of its plans. Greg Carlow, managing director at networking reseller Repton Computers, claimed that past experience with BT would put him off developing any relationship with the telco.
"In my opinion BT cannot be trusted because of past experience, when it backtracked on agreements," he said.
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