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  4. i-PRO’s Pledge to Our Channel: Protection and Support

This picture was taken in Fukuoka, Japan where I had the extreme pleasure of spending time with Bobby Kuhlar and John Skuse with STS360, one of i-PRO Americas’ outstanding channel partners. The trip was arranged to recognize STS360 as our Top Partners of the Year. It is a blessing to work with such great people and we had an incredible time, along with Nick Toth, Director of Sales America, and Trey Hisle, Top FY Regional Sales Manager. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to share with SSI our vision for i-PRO and trace it back to our Panasonic legacy. If you’ve read that article, you know that one of the biggest challenges we faced as a new company was re-building our relationships with our valued channel partners. We needed to re-establish trust. We needed to be easier to do business with. And we needed to give partners a reason to work with us beyond our exceptional products.

The importance of the channel is a subject that is close to my heart, and I had a lot more to say about but it didn’t fit in that article, so I’d like to share it here. At a point in my career, I was vice president of sales for a networking integrator in Chicago and I have the utmost respect for those that grow and succeed in this space.

Some manufacturers make the mistake of taking the integrators for granted -- to believe that the product is the main driver of business success. Recently our CEO Masato Nakao was quoted as saying “i-PRO is not a solutions provider.” That statement was taken a bit out of context. i-PRO does provide comprehensive solutions. The meaning behind the statement is that we, as i-PRO, do not compete with our partners. The integrator brings forth the solution to the end user and we are eager to work beside them to secure projects. It’s about mutual growth and success. We must make sure that our products work in multiple environments, so we stand beside our partners in providing the best solution based on the end user’s needs. As a company with Japanese roots, i-PRO believes strongly in the idea of Jita-Kyoei (自他共栄) -- mutual welfare and prosperity. We succeed when you succeed.

The first pledge i-PRO has to our integration partners is that we will protect you. We keep a very clean channel. Partners must be authorized to represent i-PRO. We’re very sensitive in terms of our pricing integrity, and we invest in our integration partners to sell to end users; we do not sell into distribution. Also, our distribution model is very clean, in order to have control and understanding of where our product is being sold. Again, this provides improved protection for our authorized partners, and we will continue to refine and improve our channel strategy.  We are so proud to have our integrators as part of our ecosystem. We are focused on helping our integrators secure projects, not on filling warehouses.

Our vision is to have a community. We don't want to be spread out. We want a group of people that we love working with and who love working with us. To have that, we must provide them with exceptional support. The i-PRO portfolio is designed to be part of larger projects. i-PRO recognizes and respects the hard work and process a partner goes through to have our product specified, and we must take the correct actions to ensure the secure the opportunity. 

The second pledge we have to our partners covers a lot of ground. We will support you. We make sure that however you prefer to do business, that it’s easy for you. If the phone is your thing, call us. I call our company every week to see how quickly people answer. If you want to self-serve, we have built tools like our EZ-2 Partner Portal that give our integrators instant access to up-to-the-minute i-PRO inventory for quick quotes, faster turnaround, and fewer points of failure. We make sure you can reach us, and get what you need.

Another aspect of that support is product reliability. Security is a mission critical business, and if you have poor quality video or are vulnerable to cyberattacks, you only know about it when the critical moment has passed. Our products are all designed with cybersecurity as a key component. They are reliable -- so much so that we’re able to extend our product warranty from the typical five years to seven. i-PRO products are designed for environments where failure is not an option.

Support also means training. We put programs in place to educate our integrators beyond the hardware and software we manufacture, to build knowledge in cybersecurity, public safety, K-12, and surveillance. And, support also means leads. We have several efforts in place worldwide to turn up the volume on lead generation and drive demand your way.

Our expectations
In the spirit of Jita-Kyoei (自他共栄) we focus on mutual success. I-PRO embraces partners who:

  • Lead with our technology. 
  • Reinforce our priorities with customers -- cybersecurity, reliability, and education.
  • Commit to our products, learning how to support them.
  • Create an RMR model around educating end users on how to utilize our Active Guard technology to its full potential.  
  • Collaborate with us based on market trends and opportunities.
  • Sell value and maintain margin. Do not look to be one of hundreds answering a bid spec.

Once again, thank you to our incredible partners. I have had the honor of working with and getting to know many of you over the years. I have always been proud to represent i-PRO because you must have confidence in your products and solutions to be successful. I know in my heart that when i-PRO is deployed, the customer has made the right decision. As we build and drive i-PRO, we continue to work to earn our partners’ trust. We still have work to do, and we always welcome your input on how we can become a better organization. 


William (Bill) Brennan is the President of i-PRO Americas. With over 30 years of experience in the IT industry, Bill led the security business unit under Panasonic before assuming his current role in April 2019, when i-PRO became an independent company. Since then, he has focused on addressing the security market's needs by offering cutting-edge, proactive solutions and building a community centered on mutual prosperity and trust. Bill resides in Florida and enjoys traveling across the country, meeting and establishing strong relationships with end-users and partners. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Central Florida.