Did you know that we have a certified network of access control integrators based around the world? We call them channel partners and give them online and classroom training, technical support, commercial guidance and more.
In this, the second part of an interview with Lisa Ottink from our partner experience team, we discover how Nedap supports channel partners in providing excellent quality time after time.
Why is it important to have well-trained partners during an access control roll out?
The quality of an installation is always absolutely paramount for us. Everything a channel partner does reflects on us, and vice versa. So, we need to make sure they have all the training and technical support they need to provide the quality we expect.
What training do you offer Nedap channel partners?
Our AEOS Academy offers a range of high-quality training for all channel partners. Every engineer begins with our basic training modules. During the coronavirus, all our training courses have taken place online and have been expanded with webinars hosted by our technical experts. This required some adjustments but we’re up and running.
When these temporary measures are no longer needed, our usual training is a combination of e-learning online and practical classroom courses. Once they’ve proved their expertise in the basic modules, engineers can move on to the advanced modules.
The combination of online and classroom learning works very well. People really like how interactive our e-learning is and engineers appreciate the opportunity to do hands-on learning in the classroom.
Previously, we ran a two-day classroom course. But now we offer e-learning, our classroom course is just one day. This saves valuable time for our partners and means people can fit the e-learning modules into their schedule easily. They arrive in the classroom having already learned about our products online and are ready to get hands on. It’s far more enjoyable and effective than watching a ream of PowerPoint presentations.
What kind of support can channel partners access through Nedap’s partner portal?
All the tools and resources partners need to market, sell and service AEOS are on our partner portal. Our e-learning modules are held on our partner portal, for example. And it provides all the information partners need for installations, from manuals to technical articles to videos. It’s also where channel partners can access technical support through our ticketing system.
The information and support on our partner portal isn’t just limited to the technical aspect of AEOS – there are lots of commercial materials too. And we’re improving and expanding it continually.
One new tool on our partner portal that’s proving popular is our licence manager. In the past, partners had to request upgrade assurance contracts from us manually, and partners couldn’t easily see the status of their clients’ licences. Our licence manager gives them real-time information. They can see which clients have upgrade assurance, which clients are using unsupported AEOS versions and more.
Do you have face-to-face contact with channel partners too?
Yes, absolutely. With some of our partners, we have regular meetings with their commercial teams. We may, for example, discuss how we can run marketing campaigns together. For other partners, we may organise joint events at our headquarters for their employees or end customers. We have a really nice building in Groenlo, which is a great space to welcome people and show them how AEOS works and how we operate as a business.
We also like to see technicians, as well as our partners’ commercial teams, because they’re such a vital part of providing an excellent system for end customers. Sometimes, we organise tech days, which are run by our technicians for partners’ technicians. They’re always really interactive so they can learn more about the practical aspects of AEOS and relevant topics such as end-to-end security and encryption for access control.
How does certification work for channel partners – are they recertified regularly?
We have two types of certificate and both are evaluated for recertification annually.
The first type of certificate that we issue is for engineers to show they’ve successfully completed our training and tests. It states the engineer’s AEOS expertise level and enables them to get support from our helpdesk. To maintain their certified status, engineers have to pass an annual online recertification test.
These training certificates link to the other type of certificate that we issue, which show each partner’s level in our network – they’re either certified, advanced, expert or alliance. This is based on how many of the partner’s employees are certified in AEOS, and at what level, and how much business they do with AEOS.
We hold an evaluation with each partner every year. During this, we review the preceding 12 months, check the certification levels for their engineers and make sure the fit is still good for both parties.
How does the partner experience team support Nedap’s channel partners?
Our team has five people. Two of us focus on supporting partners on the commercial side – so aspects such as marketing and sales support, training, contracts, upgrade assurance and so on. A third member of our team helps us with partner evaluations and all other kinds of project and event support. And a fourth member ensures we’re in close contact with our partners’ operational teams.
The fifth member of our team looks after partners from a technical point of view. For example, he works with new partners to ensure they get off to a smooth start with AEOS during their first installation or two. As well as being there to give advice on handling projects, he may visit a site with them or spend time with them at our headquarters. They may even run a test installation together – whatever each partner needs.
It’s a really important part of the onboarding process that our partners feel confident in working with AEOS. Because when they do, our end customers get the very best AEOS system for their needs. We talk about ‘security for life’, which means enabling people to make the most of every day without being hindered by or concerned about security. Our partners our crucial in ensuring our end customers get security for life, so we give them lots of support as well as expecting high standards from them.
In part one of this interview, Lisa explained what our channel partner network is, why we have one and how an integrator can become a channel partner.
To find out more about becoming a channel partner, or to find the best channel partner for your access control project, please get in touch.