MXsense seeks partners for Web-based e-mail archiving solution

With its Web-based e-mail archiving solution up and running, Marlboro, N.J.-based MXsense Solutions is launching a channel program to help bring it to market, and is offering margins of up to 35 per cent on sales and 20 per cent on referrals.

The company was launched in 2004 and spent some time developing its solution, an on-demand e-mail archiving service for the SMB, before launching it about a year-and-a-half ago. MXsense CEO Paul Banco said many e-mail archiving vendors pitch their offerings as a compliance solution, but he wanted to take a different approach.

“A lot of vendors will say compliance this, compliance that. We’re promoting this more as an end-user tool,” said Banco.

With Microsoft Outlook’s limited search functionality hampering many users, Banco said MXsense wanted to design a Google-desktop sort of tool, giving users easier access to their archived e-mails. The solution uses the journaling feature of Outlook, indexing, encrypting and storing e-mail in the MXsense data centre without any client software on the desktop or Exchange server.

“We’re not intrusive. Let’s face it, Exchange is the Holy Grail and we don’t want to be responsible for breaking it,” said Banco. “We can’t read your data. The encryption is key-generated; the only person who can access your data is you.”

With the product ready to go and a period of validation through direct selling behind it, Banco said the next step in MXsense’s plan has always been to build a partner program to help take it to market.

“I have a very firm belief that to be successful you need to partner and treat the reseller base right, and it will definitely come back to you in a good manner,” said Banco.

The solution is sold on a subscription basis, with the first 10GB of storage offered free, although there are one-time fees around the initial import of mail. Mainly, though, it’s just the space on MXsense’s servers that’s being charged for. And with statistics showing mail grows at 35 per cent yearly, Banco said most customers will work through the 10GB within one year. Partners can also bundle services around it.

“Of course, the partner doesn’t have to offer the 10GB free,” said Banco. “We have a MSRP, but they can change more and some do.”

The partner program has two elements: direct partner and referral. Under direct, the partner buys a block of storage from MXsense that it splits and sells pieces of to customers. The partner handles the billing and first-line support, and earns 35 points on the suggested MSRP.

Under the referral program, the partner makes the sale but the billing and support is handled by the vendor, and the partner earns 20 per cent of the collective billing monthly.

“It’s pretty straight-forward,” said Banco. “There are no certification requirements right now, the product is very easy to support, and the solution can literally be set up within 30 minutes.”

MXsense provides free support for partners, and will also offer marketing help through assistance with direct mail, mass mailings and events, said Banco, adding it’s also implementing marketing development funds.

The types of partners they’re looking for include those with expertise in Exchange hosted-services, partners that want to integrate e-mail into a document management system, and resellers that support Exchange and want to bring in archiving solutions.

It will take time to build channel capacity, but Banco said he sees the business split likely settling at 80 per cent channel vs. 20 per cent direct.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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