Interactive Intelligence Reframes Partner Program Around Cloud, Recurring Revenue Opportunities

Interactive Intelligence, a provider of unified communications and cloud-based contact center solutions, is rapidly growing its channel program thanks to its latest cloud offering and has no plans to slow down.

Indianapolis-based Interactive knew it needed more avenues to recurring revenue to grow its partner base. It overhauled its channel program in December around its PureCloud contact center-as-a-service platform, which was launched in the fall of 2015.

This year, the remodeled program has helped the provider gain 50 new partners that are now driving between 35 and 38 percent of Interactive Intelligence's business, according to its vice president of channels, Darren Gill.

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Gill's plan is to recruit more than 30 new partners by the end of the year, and continue to grow the provider's channel presence aggressively, he said.

Gill helped launch Interactive Intelligence's original partner program in 1997, giving partners access to premise-based contact center products. But the channel today has set its sights on services and the resulting recurring revenue opportunities. Interactive Intelligence is eager to help partners make the transition from large, one-time product sales to service-based selling, Gill said.

The PureCloud platform is the provider's next-generation offering for partners interested in getting into cloud sales. Interactive Intelligence wanted to mindfully remodel its partner program around PureCloud to help these partners get their foot in the door with cloud.

PureCloud is a multi-tenant, enterprise-grade cloud solution based on a microservice architecture on top of Amazon Web Services. PureCloud comes in two forms: PureCloud Collaborate for group chat, video conferencing, and desktop sharing between co-workers, and PureCloud Engage, a contact center offering.

Interactive Intelligence handpicked a small number of partners from its original channel program that could help the provider sell and deliver PureCloud solutions through a new partner program launched during the fourth quarter of 2015. In 2016, the provider rolled out the new PureCloud program to its global base of more than 400 partners, Gill said.

"We've seen a groundswell of interest from new partners around PureCloud, and we are re-energizing our existing partners," he said.

Interactive Intelligence has more than 180 global partners currently getting trained, certified, and selling PureCloud to their end customers.

The cloud-based contact center and collaboration offering is helping to grow the provider's channel program, but partners didn't just want to be relegated to the role of referral partner, Gill said.

"Partners like the idea of recurring revenue, but they don't want to hand the customer over to the vendor," he said.

To address this concern, Interactive Intelligence built its PureCloud partner program with a recurring monthly payout for the life of the contract, and has allowed partners to take advantage of Interactive Intelligence's' APIs.

"There are services revenue opportunities in terms of implementation services that the partner can assist with, as well as the ability for the partner to customize and tailor the service, and build unique integrations for their customers," Gill said.

Partners interested in PureCloud today can take advantage of the provider's online, self-paced training program at no charge. The program includes both a technical, as well as a sales training curriculum, according to Interactive Intelligence.

"We now have 800-plus students around the globe that are enrolled in the training, so there's been a really great turnout," Gill said.