'7 Minutes' with ATEN Technology VP Holly Garcia

Don't yet know what "pro AV" is? ATEN has its sights set on helping VAR and IT solution-provider businesses.

Lorna Garey

March 9, 2018

4 Min Read

**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.


ATEN’s Holly Garcia

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 …

… Vertiv, Raritan and Belkin; however, our KVM portfolio is the widest versus anyone else’s in the industry, and we hold more patents worldwide — over 500 in the KVM category. That’s more than any other KVM manufacturer/competitor. Our solutions offer free firmware upgrades for the life of the product, and a three-year warranty across 98 percent of our portfolio of solutions, where most companies only offer a one- or two-year warranty.

ATEN’s KVM-over-IP offers the fastest frame rate on the market and a faster virtual media transfer speed. Additionally, our reliable Tier 1 quality products have a less than 1.37 percent failure rate.

For ATEN’s Pro AV solutions, our main competitors are Crestron, Extron and Kramer. ATEN’s technology is easy to use, as recognized by its Red Dot Award for Seamless VM. ATEN is a member of the AVIXA and HDBaseT alliances and is a certified HDBaseT trainer.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

HG: We believe we will see the convergence of IT and pro AV in the next three years.  As a manufacturer of both solutions, and with our continued investment in R&D, ATEN is well positioned to be a leader in this space.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?

HG: In order to support the convergence of IT and pro AV, ATEN will look to engage IT VARs to become pro AV savvy, and pro AV VARs to become comfortable with IT solutions. We will evolve our channel strategy to effectively enable this emerging partner set and will leverage the voice of the customer; enhanced education and training will be key tenets of our channel strategy.

Creating demand around converged solutions and elevating our opportunity-based programs will be critical in evolving our channel strategy.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

HG: ATEN is a best-kept secret in North America; we are a strong global leader in KVM and emerging in the Pro AV space. Partners should keep an eye out for ATEN as we refocus our strategy, efforts and investment on the channel.

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