“This alliance with N-able is somewhat unique in the fact that it’s not a weekly occurrence,” said Herb Roblin, director of national service operations at Hartco.
Hartco Distribution is a closed end distribution unit of Montreal-based Hartco Inc. (TSX: HCI), and resells to its MicroAge and Metafore Technologies Inc. locations in Canada. The company has a network of about 45 partners here. The company doesn’t often partner with new vendors, but this also wasn’t a brand new relationship.
“We’ve actually been working with Hartco for a number of years and some of Hartco’s partners are doing extremely well with the product,” said Gavin Garbutt, N-able’s chief executive officer and co-founder. “They wanted to repeat that success through all their members.”
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“What we wanted to be able to do was provide a best in class solution for our Metafore and Microage locations to resell,” Roblin said. The process began about a year ago, when Roblin began a hunt for the right managed services partner.
“When we did the deep dive into this, not only did N-able have best product, but also best training, support and background to work with,” he said. “And the fact that their Canadian based certainly didn’t hurt either.”
The cornerstone of the relationship will be N-able’s N-central remote monitoring and management automation software. N-able offers a “freemium” program, where it gives a certain amount of free licences to partners to seek out managed services opportunities, then upsell and cross-sell for other complementary offerings after proving the business outcome for customers.
Hartco itself will provide some marketing, but has mainly just formalized the relationship between its partners and N-able. “Basically, what we’ve done is standardized,” Roblin said. “Now our MicroAges can speak with one unified voice when they go to the customer.”
N-able currently has about 2400 partners worldwide, with about 15 per cent of those in Canada. Signing on Hartco’s partners will allow N-able to increase its partner base here by 15 per cent, Garbutt said. The relationship will allow N-able to have partners in new locations in places such as Nova Scotia, but also address more opportunities in Toronto and Montreal.
“The goal is to have 100 per cent of them on board,” Garbutt said, while still offering quality training and support for all partners. N-able now has 14 partner development specialists on staff, up from only six at this time last year, for example..
“The reality is that 85 per cent of small and medium sized businesses in Canada are still not proactively managed,” according to Garbutt. Now, the SMB market is becoming more educated about managed services. In the last two years, the number of SMB customers on N-central has gone from 20,000 to 60,000. “They’re realizing that IT is critical to their businesses.”
Follow Harmeet Singh on Twitter: @HarmeetCDN