Cloud App Developer Steelwedge Preps Formal Partner Program

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Cloud application developer Steelwedge Software is shooting for a fall launch of a partner program under new Alliances Vice President Michelle Jones.

The company, a rising star in the sales and operations planning (S&OP) application arena, already has launched a partner portal and is now putting together the marketing and training components of the partner program, Jones said in an interview.

Steelwedge has a number of reseller, consulting and systems integration partners but has lacked a formal partner program. "While we had a history of working with partners, we were pretty much doing it ad hoc," Jones said. The new program will help the company manage its growing partner ranks.

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"I've got more partners knocking at our door than I can handle," said Jones, a channel veteran who previously managed partner programs at Seeburger, Ariba and Infor and was been named to CRN's 2012 Women of the Channel list.

Steelwedge partner Turnswing, a Warren, R.I.-based consulting company, helps the vendor sell, deploy, integrate and support its S&OP applications. Even without a partner program in place, Turnswing CEO Vince Wicker said the 10-plus years he's worked with the company have been productive and conflict-free.

"They're really thinking about how to sell with partners," Wicker said in an interview. "They're comfortable with partners. They don't feel threatened by service providers." Steelwedge has brought Turnswing into S&OP projects and vice versa, and he said the vendor's sales team is easy to work with.

Wicker said he's always had access to people throughout the company when needed. But the new partner program will "formalize the [partner] processes and put some structure to them."

Steelwedge executives didn't offer additional details about the in-the-works program. But Product Management Vice President Nari Vismanathan said the company is counting on partners to help identify and recruit new customers for the S&OP cloud applications.

"We'd like to see a quarter of new revenue and new business come through channel partners and see that grow at 10 [percent] to 20 percent a year," Vismanathan said in an interview.

S&OP applications, essentially supply chain management on steroids, integrate sales, production and inventory information to help companies manage their operations and forecast demand. Vismanathan said Steelwedge estimates that using its applications can save a company between $5 million and $10 million for every $1 in revenue through lower logistics and supplier expenses and reduced inventory.

Steelwedge recently debuted the spring release of its online applications, adding Steelwedge S&OP Insight, software that aggregates and analyzes data generated by the applications and presents them through Web-based dashboards, dashboards on smartphones and iPad tablets, Excel spreadsheets and email alerts.

The spring release provides tools that businesses can use to build applications that run on the Steelwedge platform. Vismanathan said that capability is needed to manage unique business processes not covered by the Steelwedge applications. Also new is support for technologies such as in-memory and columnar databases, Infiniband networking, and Flash-based caching that help the applications work with big data.


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