To maintain its leadership in an increasingly competitive market, Research in Motion (RIM) looked to strengthen its partnerships and increase the profitability of its distribution channels.
RIM sells its popular BlackBerry devices through a complex distribution channel comprising wireless carriers, resellers, ISVs, and systems integrators. To better service this community the company worked with ChannelWave to develop Partner Zone, a Web site for RIM's partners built using ChannelWave's Partner, Market, Sell, and Service solutions. "We had a partner site, but it was cludgy and not scalable," says Don Morrison, RIM's COO. "It wasn't flexible enough for where we were going."
RIM's goals for its partner relationship management initiative are to support its selling partners and their customers; to simplify how partners work with RIM; to provide an enterprise view of its customers across its 37 business units; and to gauge its sales and marketing effectiveness. RIM chose ChannelWave to support these efforts because of the company's flexibility. "They're willing to design ChannelWave around our business," Morrison says. "Our industry is in the teething stage, so we needed a company that would be adaptive. We have reorganized our company around our customers and carriers, and this software is a mirror image of how we run our business."
RIM launched Partner Zone last February. About 10,000 individuals have access, and about 3,500 use Partner Zone on a day-to-day basis. In fact, in the first two weeks activity increased 535 percent among RIM's systems integrator, carrier, ISV, and WSV partners. The Zone is available in six countries in Europe, is multilingual, and handles multiple currencies.
Partner Zone is helping RIM provide its partners with more personalized information and better access to the company. The system is helping RIM enhance its real-time and overall visibility into partners and customers, which improves such decision-making as demand forecasting. It also improves how RIM evaluates partner performance, tracks comarketing funds, and manages and distributes leads. Additionally, Partner Zone helps RIM drive sales and marketing programs into the channel.
"It's either by serendipity or luck that the implementation is happening with some nifty growth we're experiencing," Morrison says.