Life in the Channel: Acer’s Nick Walter

The tech brand’s Head of Commercial and Education talks about his team’s core focus, how Acer encourages diversity in the workplace, and its pursuit to make a positive impact on our society and environment.

Tell us about your career in the industry and your current role at Acer.

I have over 20 years’ experience in the industry and have seen the channel evolve dramatically during this period. My experience has always been aligned to hardware, starting out in the storage industry when recording, sharing and storing data was shifting to CD. I’ve been lucky enough to work for some of the leading distributors and vendors globally and witnessed how devices add value to the IT ecosystem and ultimately the user outcome.

Within my current role as head of commercial at Acer, I see the value that our devices provide to the end user. An integral part of my current role is the further development of our Synergy partner program and how we can create demand and value back for our partners. Our Synergy partner program has a dedicated portal which can be accessed simply and easily by our partners to release marketing tools, product information and pricing.

There are four tiers of partners and each tier has a difference reward system available to them.

We have other great programmes at Acer such as the ‘Upgrade Reward’ and ‘Reliability Promise’ that are offered to end users and partners to give them confidence in choosing and working with the Acer brand. We are continually updating and fine tuning our programmes to ensure it offers real value to our partners and provides the tools they need.

What is your team focused on at the moment?

Our core focus is to ensure our partners are fully equipped with the tools and support needed to deliver better outcomes for their customers. Assisting partners with lead generation, marketing and working with them to help grow their business. Whether it’s Windows or Chrome, our ethos is very simple and that’s to focus on our strengths and support the channel. We have some great opportunities at the moment within the education, SMB, mid-market and enterprise as the development of the edge, the cloud, AI and changes to the traditional IT departments take shape.

Although this is creating challenges, it’s ultimately also creating some very exciting opportunities. Helping support our partners within these shifts is where we are at and what we strive to achieve excellence in.

How does Acer encourage diversity in the workplace?

We recognise the value of equality and diversity in the workplace and the significant advantages that our diverse workforce contributes. In recent years, our local office has begun a valued partnership with the leading local learning disability charity Ealing Mencap.

For the last year, Acer has provided a group of Mencap trainees with ongoing work experience across all departments gaining training and support, with the aim of helping them develop new skills and helping them get into employment.

We are also tackling diversity and inclusion by addressing the needs of SEN special education children in schools with our innovative school programmes, technology advances and utilisation of the assistive educational programmes that Google and Windows offer.

Are there any upcoming plans or projects at Acer in education that you can tell us about?

One of Acer’s historical heartlands has always been education. Currently, Acer has the best of both worlds within this space as we can support both Windows and Chrome.

Later this year we will be preparing to showcase our ConceptD brand and esports proposition at BETT 2020. We are very excited about the opportunities these will bring, particularly as our leading position in gaming is now translating over into the education market as educational institutions start to see the benefit of how esports can promote teamwork and tech understanding.

The ConceptD brand is a fresh approach to computing, created to specifically meet the needs of creators. It is not merely about making things different, but about setting new benchmarks and breaking new ground.

Of course, we will also provide details of our other best in class PCs such as the Acer TravelMate B118 – a sturdy and reliable Windows notebook ideal for the education market, and the Chrome range with the Chromebook Spin 311, which comes with a convertible 360 degree design so it can be used in four different modes.

How important are shows like CES in the US and BETT in the UK to Acer?

Both CES and BETT are important shows for us. They play a fundamental role in our overall channel communication strategy and a platform to bring our key product message to the commercial sector and generate media coverage on Acer’s innovative tech releases.

In relation to BETT, we see this as an opportunity to also support our partners. Being able to provide a platform to showcase the collaborations with our partners and to demonstrate the benefits of our partnerships is invaluable. At this years BETT show we will have a host of guest speakers daily to offer insight and inspiration to the education sector. More details will follow on this nearer the time.

Acer was recently celebrated for its sustainability efforts. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

We have always been a green company, but Acer’s pursuit to make a positive impact to our society and environment has made significant headway over the last year. There are several global initiatives in place to encourage employees and partners to take part in caring for the environment.

One that we are focusing on with our education partners is ‘Project Humanity’ which is an initiative that is being run through the Acer Innovative Schools programme. The schools have been encouraged to put in place their own ‘green campaigns’ which can be focused around recycling, using public transport, walking to school, planting trees, or reducing plastic or water consumption. They then use their technology to produce videos, photos and presentations to report on their campaign and results. The winning school will be awarded 10 Acer devices to be donated to a local charity of their choice.

This initiative is designed to encourage students to develop a positive community centred approach and understand the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling.

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