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Qlik Partner Program Expansion Emphasizes Customer Lifecycle, Recurring Revenue

With its new Cloud Services track, Qlik looks to expand its channel efforts beyond traditional reseller activity by offering opportunities and incentives for co-seller and influencer partners.

Business intelligence and data management software developer Qlik is modernizing its partner program, including adding a cloud services track, with the goal of helping channel partners move beyond the traditional reseller model to an expanded emphasis on recurring revenue and customer lifecycle value.

The partner program update, which includes new incentives for partners who influence and co-sell Qlik’s Software-as-a-Service products, comes amid shifts in customer buying behaviors and as Qlik completes its own shift to a recurring revenue model and the sale of software subscriptions instead of perpetual licenses.

“This is really to get our partners working with that as-a-service, recurring revenue and customer experience-focused mindset – not just looking at the transaction but looking at the lifecycle of the customer and making sure that we’re supporting them along the way,” said Peter Leddy, vice president of Qlik’s Global Partner Organization, in an interview with CRN.

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Qlik, which markets one of the industry’s leading data analytics and visualization tools, has been expanding its product portfolio through acquisitions and internal development to include a broader lineup of data integration and data governance software. That includes the acquisitions of data management software developer Podium Data in 2018 and data integration software provider Attunity in early 2019.

On the business side Qlik recently completed a shift away from selling perpetual software licenses in favor of a subscription sales model and is now largely selling its software on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis.

“Qlik Cloud Services enhance the value of real-time data analytics to our customers and in the way we deliver as partners,” said Mark Meersman, founder and Managing Partner of IPC Global, a Qlik partner based in Alpharetta, Ga. “User adoption, speed to delivery and lowest TCO are accentuated by Qlik SaaS. As partners, we have yet another way to land business and expand with Qlik in the cloud,” he said in a statement.

The changes to Qlik’s go-to-market strategy means that Qlik’s partners are changing as well, moving beyond transactional reselling, said Leddy, who has worked at Qlik for six years and took over his current position in January. “The idea of partners is changing. We’re looking at it more from an engagement model.”

Under the traditional reseller model Qlik hands off the entire sales and customer relationship to a solution provider. But Leddy noted that today Qlik often remains engaged with customers through service level agreements, data protection agreements and other instruments. “This becomes a three-way relationship that we have to coordinate,” Leddy said.

Qlik has a base of more than 1,700 partners – mostly solution providers and some systems integrators – plus several hundred technology and OEM partners. Nearly 40 percent of Qlik’s sales are conducted through the channel, according to Leddy, with more than 70 percent of the company’s deals in some way involving a partner.

Qlik’s partner program has, until now, focused on resellers where the partner leads all deal activities, including contracting and financials, and earn discounts on list price. That track will continue.

To that end Qlik is now adding a cloud services track that will accommodate influencer and co-sell partners. Influencers bring sales opportunities to Qlik, can provide sales and technical support, and earn one-time incentive fees based on a deal’s value, according to Qlik.

Co-sellers collaborate with Qlik on go-to-market activities and are more focused on the full customer lifecycle, from onboarding to contract renewals and expansions. They can register deal opportunities, although sales are contracted directly with Qlik, and sales and technical activities are partner-led. They earn recurring incentive fees that are based on deal value.

Co-seller emphasis on customer experience and lifetime value creation is further underlined through incentives for being the partner of record in deals, for customer base renewals and for customer upsell and expansion sales.

“The outcomes we want are the as-a-service mindset, the customer experience, recurring revenue, and the focus on partner skills and the customer journey,” Leddy said of the incentives that are designed to reward partners through each stage of the customer lifecycle.

The new Cloud Services track is available for partners starting July 19.

“Qlik’s new Cloud Services track is a welcome evolution in the way we can partner with Qlik to build our business and deliver more joint value to customers,” said Martin Sahlin, CEO of Stretch Qonnect, a Copenhagen, Denmark-based Qlik partner. “The program will help us transform the customer relationship, accelerate adoption and build long-term business value together,” he said in a statement.

“The SaaS economy has shifted the world from a product to services mindset, which requires a modern approach that targets a broader ecosystem while providing multiple engagement models,” said Mike Capone, Qlik CEO, in a statement. “Our partners have always been a critical part of our success, and we are committing the resources partners need to build profitable and thriving recurring revenue businesses around our cloud platform. This program will enable partners to deliver consistent value with a collaborative teaming approach that fully supports our customers on their journey to the cloud.”

Qlik is also offering an optional solutions specialization component in the program to help partners differentiate themselves in the market, as well as more robust technical training for partners.

The company is designating partner success managers to work with partners and developing best practices and collateral to help partners manage customer engagements. The company is also updating its partner portal and the CRM system that partners use to work with the vendor. And a new Ambassador program will recognize individual partner employees for exceptional customer service.

Qlik is also providing what it calls “clear, concise and predictable rules of engagement” between partners and Qlik’s own salesforce and service operations.

Leddy is careful to emphasize that all the changes are not an effort to shift Qlik sales to SaaS and cut partners out of the loop. “We are trying to ensure that our partners are moving along with us in the growth of the SaaS opportunity. Our partners have been just a huge force-multiplier for us in the modernization of our customer base,” he said.

Qlik also emphasizes the services opportunities around Qlik software, which the company puts at more than $8 for every $1 of subscription revenue. That includes services in such areas as data management and migration, data literacy, application assessment and data visualization development.

In addition to evolving its current base of partners to new business models and practices, Leddy said Qlik continues to recruit additional “born-in-the-cloud” partners, including solution providers who work with cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

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