Waterloo’s Igloo extends channel reach with Synnex deal

Daniel Kube Igloo Software

, vice president of sales at .

, Ont.-based Igloo Software has extended its reach into the channel by turning current customer Synnex Canada into a distribution partner as well.

Igloo competes in the social communities space, offering companies the tools to create secured and branded wikis, blogs, forums and other community-type tools in a hosted and easy to use fashion.

Igloo is no stranger to either in particular or distribution in general. It has previously worked with to roll out the distributor’s new online community for its Varnex Canada community, and has worked with Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions as both a customer and distributor for almost a year and a half.“[Distributors] are going through a massive paradigm shift as the cloud becomes more prevalent,” said Daniel Kube, vice president of sales for Igloo. “They’re looking for ways to bring solutions to their customers that drive business value, and we offer the ability to create a high-value business solutions out of the box.”

Like many startups, the company currently has a direct sales force, particularly addressing enterprise customers. But , alliance manager at Igloo, said that’s something the company hopes to change through its connections with Synnex (focused on the SMB customer) and Arrow (focused more on the enterprise customer.) “As resellers get more proficient with our products, we’d love to be channel only,” Willard said.

To build that channel-only approach, the company is leaning heavily on its two distribution partners, building out its own channel community as the calendar rolls over into 2011, a year in which Kube expects nearly every partner will be looking for ways to add the cloud to their offerings.

“The number one thing we’re looking for from partners is sweat equity,” said Kube. “There aren’t big partner fees for training and enablement, we want to sit down and draft a joint business plan. We’ll figure it all out together and we’ll support the hell out of them. We’re looking for resellers looking to invest into the business, and willing to get trained up and push the product rather than just adding it to their line card.”

Kube said that on average, solution providers can expect to make between 15 and 25 points on the company’s software, plus their own services revenues, as well as recurring revenues for customers who stay with the hosted software for years two and three.

Willard said top services partners bring to the table include Web design, and that for solution providers who don’t have Web design skills on staff, both distributors offer Web design services that can be white labeled by partners.

Working as it does in the social collaboration space, Igloo often comes up against Microsoft’s juggernaut SharePoint product family.  “SharePoint in an organization makes us happy,” Kube said, because it means that customers “get” the idea of social collaboration. From there, Igloo is often integrated into a customer’s environment in a co-existence situation and offering complementary functionality. And sometimes, it’s an issue of SharePoint displacement for companies looking for something a little bit easier to manage.

Igloo is often brought in to “add social features to the Intranet,” Willard said, moving from static display of information into something that all members can use to post useful information and build discussions.

And because of “the beauty of SaaS,” as Kube puts it, the company is able to support customers with any size of community with a single platform that is constantly evolving – getting new features on a 30- to 60-day cycle.

One of the company’s big goals for 2011 is to “get out and meet with the resellers,” Willard said, and that’s one of the reasons the company has signed up as a Gold sponsor of Synnex’s new community – as well as designing the Web-based part of that community.

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