Hummingbird understands the value of its channel program, said Andrew Pery, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Toronto-based vendor.
“”We consider our partners as a natural extension of our sales organization,”” said Pery, who is based in Ottawa.
The software developer
provides two types of solutions. Its core connectivity business helps users access mainframe applications from their desktops. It also provides enterprise information management systems (EIMS) — solutions that help organizations manage business content. This includes business intelligence software, collaboration solutions, and knowledge management tools.
As a result of these two businesses, Hummingbird has two different types of reseller programs, Pery said. The connectivity products are shrink wrapped products designed to help users connect to the approximately 80 per cent of applications that reside in legacy systems. Hummingbird provides the maintenance for its connectivity solutions by itself. So the channel in this case is merely a vehicle for reaching the market, Pery said. There isn’t much value-add to be provided. The company looks to the channel as an extensive network of distributors, and much of its business is conducted through it.
For connectivity solution resellers, Hummingbird provides training so that their sales people are competent in the software they are selling, he said.
Hummingbird’s relationship with its EIMS resellers is much more complex. Here Hummingbird is looking for more than just resellers with an extensive distribution network — it’s looking for systems integrators who can provide technical expertise to Hummingbird users.
“”They provide the first line of contact to many of our customers,”” Pery said.
Hummingbird provides several different kinds of training for its EIMS alliance partners. The partners receive end user, sys/admin and integration training so that they can pass on the knowledge to their clients. Hummingbird has predefined training courses across Canada, but it also offers partners with many customized developers training courses.
In general, resellers are given a 30 per cent discount on products. However, a reseller’s margin may vary based on volume. A distributor with its own reseller channel that agrees to sell a pre-committed volume may get a higher margin, Pery said.
In addition to training, Hummingbird also provides marketing support.
“”I think the way we differentiate ourselves is the quality of product and level of support we provide is strong,”” he said.
In Asia-Pacific, the channel generates 90 per cent of the company’s revenue. That’s why the firm understands the value of the channel, he said. In North America, the channel generates closer to 35 per cent of the company’s revenue.
“”The channel is the key to our continual success,”” Pery said.
They have helped the company through tough economic times.
“”The economic conditions are uncertain, and to some extent, our business has been impacted.””