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Mon 2 Jun 2008 03:46 PM

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Meru follows OnLine tie-up with partner scheme launch

Meru launches new partner scheme tailored for Middle East resellers as part of regional drive

Meru Networks has followed up the recent appointment of OnLine Distribution as its first distributor in the region by launching a partner programme for Middle East resellers.

The EMEA-wide programme is a modified version of the initiative unveiled to US partners last year and divides members into ‘Value' and ‘Pinnacle' categories depending on their engagement with Meru.

Access to the higher-level Pinnacle tier requires a stronger commitment from partners in terms of certified sales and technical skills, while Value status is largely aimed at companies looking to increase their understanding of the wireless mobility infrastructure vendor's technology.

Highlights of the channel programme include an enhanced demo equipment scheme that offers discounts on demonstration products and services, and an additional training curriculum to boost technical skills. The programme also recognises a partner's investment in other industry WLAN certifications, but excludes the margin protection component available to US resellers.

While Meru regards the programme as a way for partners to differentiate and build their sales capabilities, it does not intend to use it as a platform to reach the masses. David Kelly, VP sales EMEA at the company, insists the intention is to focus on developing a tight-knit partner community in the Middle East.

"I am not looking for hundreds of partners," he stressed. "I want to make sure that we have partners covering the region - both geographically and vertically - so we will be working very closely with them. If we have 10 to 15 good partners in the region, I would be very happy," he admitted.

Meru has made solid progress since setting up in the Middle East earlier this year and recruiting OnLine Distribution's former enterprise and convergence unit boss Zakir Lokare to run the operation.

One of Lokare's first tasks has been to renew acquaintances with his former employer following its appointment as the company's distributor for all of the Gulf countries except Saudi Arabia. Lokare insists Meru evaluated a number of prospective distribution partners, but selected OnLine due its technology solutions pedigree.

"When you look at Online's convergence and mobility portfolio the domain knowledge is very strong," he said. "The internal OnLine team is trained on sales, pre-sales and post-sales so they now have the certified resources and have begun engaging with channel partners."

Although OnLine will serve as the company's sole regional distribution representative for the foreseeable future, Meru is planning to appoint an in-country distributor specifically for the Saudi market during the second half of the year.

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