**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
ATEN Technology’s product lines will be familiar to VARs — it’s best known for KVMs, AV and meeting-room systems and gear, digital signage and its focus on verticals, including government and health care. Last month, the company named Holly Garcia vice president and charged her with the overall strategy, growth and profitability of ATEN’s North American business. Garcia’s expansive portfolio includes sales, marketing, product management and channel strategy.
ATEN partners who worry that broad mandate will leave them in the cold can take heart. Garcia comes to ATEN from Ingram Micro, where she spent 18 years in roles including director of vendor management, including the Cisco and components business units; executive director of sales for major accounts; and executive director of advanced solutions, where she was responsible for the company’s data center software, infrastructure, and Dell EMC business unit.
We caught up with Garcia to see what plans she has to extend the reach of ATEN in North America. To start with, she’s working on an overhaul of the channel program, with details due to roll out in the second quarter. She’s also got her sights set on the pro AV space, where IT integrators with multimedia knowledge add a specialty in the increasingly complex world of audiovisual products and services.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Holly Garcia: ATEN has been in business for more than 35 years, holds 500-plus patents and is the true manufacturer of 99 percent of its portfolio. Because of this, we’re able to quickly develop customized solutions within our KVM, Pro AV, PDU, USB and data-communication portfolios based on customer need. Because we’re so flexible, adaptable and involved with our customers, it makes ATEN easy to do business with and ensures customers have the right products to accomplish their needs and goals.
CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?
HG: We are currently in the process of redesigning our channel program in North America. ATEN’s current program is largely focused on pricing, and candidly, is more complex than it should be based on our solutions. We plan to launch a completely new channel program in the second quarter, focused on providing technical and product support, partner enablement and opportunity creation.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
HG: ATEN’s go-forward channel strategy calls for 100 percent of the business to be through the channel. Currently, we have approximately 1,000 active partners. Our average margin with deal registration is 35 percent.
CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?
HG: For ATEN’s KVM solutions, our main competitors are …