QandA with Hyperion's Mercedes Ellison

Mercedes Ellison is a well-known channel veteran, having held top posts at both Oracle and BEA. Nine months ago, she became vice president of global partner sales for Hyperion, a business-intelligence and business-performance-management software vendor based in Santa Clara, Calif. Ellison recently spoke with VARBusiness managing editor/technology Carolyn A. April about Hyperion's partner strategy, investment and program initiatives.

VB: How many partners do you have, and how many are you looking to grow?

Ellison: We currently have 600 partners across the globe, a mix of consulting and implementation partners, platform partners, ISVs and OEMs. We are looking to grow the number, but we want to do it in a selective manner. And we think that's one of the differentiators of our program. We are putting a focus on our strategic alliances with companies like Deloitte, BearingPoint, IBM, Accenture and HP. We want to expand our business with those companies to drive into a market beyond financial applications. From a strategy perspective, we sat down with these companies and outlined specific go-to-market initiatives. In the last eight months, we have also taken a look at how these partners have been leveraging our technology, and have identified more than 40 repeatable assets by partners building businesses around us.

VB: What about the midmarket?

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Ellison: The midmarket is a focus, one that we concentrate our partners on. Enablement becomes important there. We will invest and grow our larger partners at the top end, and continue to be selective with regional partners to support a co-selling model with our existing sales force.

VB: How is Hyperion doing financially?

Ellison: Last quarter [Q2, we had] record revenue and net income. We generated 33 percent of new license revenue through partners. That's a growth of 19 percent quarter-over-quarter. We are also seeing an increase in revenue-generating partners. In the same quarter, the number of partners who did more than $100,000 in business with us was well above last year.

VB: Please talk about the commitment of Hyperion's top brass to the channel.

Ellison: I can honestly say the commitment to partnering and the recognition of the role the [channel has] to play to move beyond the $700 million [in sales] mark to $1 billion and beyond is well-understood. We are poised for growth. As partners add to the platform, it's a great opportunity for them to expand their businesses around us.

VB: What have you been doing from a programmatic perspective?

Ellison: There's an emphasis on leveraging tools used here and getting them into the hands of channel managers and partners all over the world. We have in the last six months invested in enablement tools and training globally. We will be putting in place more points of contact and upgrading our partner portal.