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Qlik Moves To Expand Partner Program Beyond License Sales To Include Services, Subscription Revenue
Business intelligence software developer Qlik is expanding the scope of its partner program beyond software license sales to include working with partners to grow their service offerings and software subscription revenue.
The new partner initiatives come as Qlik itself seeks to grow beyond its roots as a developer of a single data-visualization software product into a provider of broader business analytics platforms and services.
Qlik channel and marketing executives, addressing partners at the company's Qonnections 2016 customer and partner conference in Orlando, Fla., on Monday, also outlined additions to the company's partner program, including new specializations and certifications, deal protection and market development funds.
"The business is growing and accelerating and we want to see that continue," said Mark Thurmond, Qlik executive vice president of worldwide sales and services, addressing a session of hundreds of Qlik partners. "We have a huge opportunity in front of us."
The business analytics software market will reach $16.9 billion this year, Thurmond said, citing Gartner forecasts, and grow to $21.4 billion by 2020.
Qlik, based in Radnor, Pa., has some 1,700 channel partners which accounted for 55 percent of the company's $327 million in license sales in 2015 -- a percentage that grew to 63 percent in this year's first quarter, Thurmond said. Overall the company's indirect sales grew 26 percent in 2015.
Thurmond said OEM sales of Qlik software for custom analytical applications and embedded analytics have also been growing at a rapid clip.
Qlik executives made it clear they want that channel growth to continue and the expansion of the partner program is a critical element of that. Word went out to Qlik's sales representatives in January that engaging with partners and building "solid business plans" with the channel was a priority, according to Thurmond.
"We are continuously tuning how we engage with you in order to win more market share and win that market share faster," said Toni Adams, who became Qlik's channel chief in November. "We are looking to reward you and help you build your business around licenses as well as your services business."
"Services consulting is the big driver for our business," said Joseph DeSiena, president of consulting services for Bardess Group, a Qlik partner based in Mendham, N.J.
"We feel the new program really brings in new Qlik resources to expand our services business and really improve our competency," DeSiena said. "This is really important for software sales because it maximizes opportunities. I really feel this is the future of our business."
"As our business has grown, … the anatomy of the services mix is very different from when we started," said Gus Machado, executive director of the U.K.-based Data Technology, another Qlik partner. Customers today are seeking help with business process re-engineering, security and infrastructure management, among other services, he said.
The renewed emphasis on the channel comes as Qlik itself continues to evolve from supplying a single point product, QlikView, to marketing a business analytics platform with tools for different types of users. In addition to QlikView, Qlik launched Qlik Sense for "self-service" business analytics two years ago and also offers Qlik NPrinting for report printing applications.
On Monday, Qlik executives announced Qlik Data Market, a Data-as-a-Service offering that partners can use to provide customers with data to incorporate into their business analytics. Qlik is starting with packaged financial services information, including stock price data and corporate financial data.
Qlik also announced that it has acquired Industrial CodeBox, the company behind QVSource that allows QlikView and Qlik Sense to connect to social media and other cloud-based data sources. Qlik will add the functionality to its Qlik Connectors software that customers use to access data in cloud and on-premise sources.
Qlik channel chief Adams said the changes to the partner program are the result of feedback from partners who want more Qlik support for their services businesses, more help in expanding into specific vertical industries and areas of expertise, and more help differentiating themselves in the market.
While the initiatives remain under one program umbrella, Qlik is essentially creating three partner tracks for license resellers, service providers and partners who sell software subscriptions. Partners can participate in more than one track.
The updated license program requirements now go beyond a signed contract, joint promotions and other core tenets to include competency requirements based on how well a solution provider positions and sells Qlik products.
To address the need for vertical industry assistance, Qlik will offer 10 specialization certifications in specific industries, such as banking, retail and health care, and areas of expertise such as mobility and supply chain management.
To win specialization certifications, partners must meet training requirements, have enough systems engineers and sales representatives with the necessary expertise on staff, and participate in joint marketing activities.
Specializations will help partners better "speak the language" of potential customers, such as the finance director of a logistics management company, said Data Technology's Machado.
The subscription revenue track remains in early development with information to come later, Adams said.
Qlik is also overhauling the partner program tiers that provide partners with rewards and incentives. Specializations will now be considered along with revenue requirements.
While current 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent discounts still hold, partners also can gain an additional 10 percent to 15 percent discount for partner-led deals, pushing the possible total discount for license sales to as high as 50 percent. Requirements will vary among the Americas, Europe-Middle East-Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.
"We are going to reward you for partner-led deals," Adams said, and the company will reimburse partners for costs associated with registered deals that "in exceptional cases" might be lost to another partner or to Qlik's direct sales.
On the services side, Qlik will continue to pay referral fees that partners can take or invest in a joint marketing fund to help drive new business. Qlik is also stepping up the amount of market development funds it's offering partners and promising more dedicated marketing campaigns.
The updated licensing and new services tracks will go into effect in about six months, with partners given another six months to meet the requirements, Adams said. But the channel chief said partners who "make the right investments" would be treated as if they have "already achieved the tier [they] are targeting."
"So if you look at the big picture of the benefits, you will be able to make more money than ever before," Adams said.
Partners seemed to agree. "The new program is offering incentives to work with both Qlik sales and Qlik services," said DeSiena at Bardess Group. "And this team approach, I think, is going to be very important to the future of our customers."