FreeBalance needs partners to tap public sector

FreeBalance, an Ottawa-based software solution vendor for public financial management, is looking to further expand its business with help from its channel partners.

The company, which focuses on delivering public financial management software solutions, currently does about 30 per cent of its overall business through its network of channel partners.

Manuel Pietra, president and CEO of FreeBalance, said the company’s customers include departments of finance, federal governments and local governments, such as municipalities, all around the world.

FreeBalance’s channel community sits at about 30 partners worldwide, with plans to increase this further, Pietra said. The company’s Canadian roots date back 25 years, when FreeBalance was founded in 1984. Since then, FreeBalance has expanded its partner and end-user bases, allowing it to establish sales offices in other areas of the world such as in Washington, D.C., Lisbon, Portugal and St. John, Antigua.

“No single company can expand and go to new countries on its own,” he said. “Our partner network is critical to our success. Every time we go into a country and have a successful (customer) engagement, we normally open up a branch (office) in that country.”

FreeBalance’s channel is made up of consulting partners who provide implementation and services, as well as IT partners who specialize in areas like hardware, networking and installation.

To support its partners, Pietra said FreeBalance has a partner program called the FreeBalance Global Partner Program, which provides each partner with a unique experience. Depending on what the partner’s core competencies are, they’ll receive a customized set of benefits, services and support from FreeBalance, Pietra explained. The program, he mentions, is tailored to better meet the needs of each partner.

The company recently released a new version of its flagship FreeBalance Accountability Platform solution, Version 7, earlier this month, which is designed to support Web 2.0 content and collaboration within the public sector.

The platform is designed to help users develop Web-based government resource planning solutions. Because it comes with flexible Web-based deployment options and is built using service oriented architecture (SOA), the platform provides users with an out of the box integration experience for government information systems.

Partners can choose to deploy the FreeBalance Accountability Platform on an end-user-license model basis, or as a software-as-a-service, cloud-based solution.

Depending on the deployment method and the level of partner involvement with the project, Pietra said partners can attain margins of up to 30 per cent with the solution.

Moving forward, Pietra said the company is looking for more partners to help expand its base.

“We’re looking for partners that have a commitment to this marketplace and who understand how to provide services to the government,” he said. “We’re also looking for partners who have subject expertise in government resource planning systems and who have financial management knowledge.”

Pietra said FreeBalance’s revenue has been growing at a rate of 20 per cent year over year for the past four years, and he said he expects this growth to continue.

“Our plans for Canada are aggressive,” he said. “While we feel we’re successful in Canada, we can be even more. We’re looking at extending our offering to local governments, municipalities and even territories. Internationally, as we go into new countries, we’ll engage with new partners and rely more on them.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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