Jamcracker is providing a channel ecosystem through their webservices integration business. Partners can access the Jamcracker site and find and select those services. There are new success stories around the channel to be found on their website. JSDN is Jamcrackers On Demand Market Place. On a way similar to the AppExchange from Salesforce.com it was built to help partners buy, consume or market webservices.
Brent’s advice: Large percentage of traditional IT VARs aren’t there yet. Even so Microsoft is now pushing the SaaS business. A new breed of partners with no baggage is probably what it takes to build channels for SaaS. His channel began to grow substantially this year.
Infopia tried to develop a partner channel early on but faced great challenges. Even so the product is zero touch and easy to onramp a customer, channels wasn’t ready. In more complex projects they actually pulled in some VARs who helped to integrate Infopia’s ecommerce products into the customers on-premise IT world.
Now in a very recently new attempt to collaborate with partners they had more success. In a large project Infopia collaborated with a new partner and actually demonstrated great success for all participating parties.
Infopias sales organization is structured so that all business below $50k goes through inside sales and above through field sales. If partners are involved in a business Infopia provides both contract option: Customer signs partners paper or Infopias paper.
Bjorns advice: Since the partner model is so different due to the recurring revenue model, partners and vendors do need to fully understand the value chain in that business.
Today 7-26 I interviewed Bulldog Solutions CEO Rob Solomon
Bulldog Solutions is a Lead Generation Company, working as an enabler for the SaaS industry. Some of the underlying infrastructure to the lead generation business are conferencing solutions from Webex and Placeware. Bulldog seams to be one of the larger Webex and Placeware customers, using their services to provide webconferences to the customers of Bulldog Solutions. Even so for the web conference vendors this might be a channel, Rob Solomon (CEO) how ever views this just as infrastructure he is using. Bulldog Solution makes primarily money off of the services they provide, while the margin they get from the vendors are not substantial to their business.
Channel or not – it is one of the cases where a company such as Bulldog is an important catalyst to vendors like Webex and placeware. It is one of many examples how channels appear to be very different in the SaaS industry relative to the traditional IT industry.
Channels are the most complex business model – simply because of its integrated involvement of legally independent parties in one of the most critical business processes: Sales. Therefore channel business has many facets and view points. There is an executive view point, one from investors, customers, service organization, product development and marketing.
Often Times channels get inherited by a new executive who is forced to understand that channel and the implications of any changes in a matter of weeks.
But complexity doesn’t need to mean complicated. Structuring and completely understanding channels is the usual way to manage complexity. The book Channel Excellence shall help all constituencies to better understand, structure and manage those relationships for a better, faster and more profitable business.