Liaison Widens Partner Role in Selling Cloud Integration
February 6, 2013 Alex Woodie
Liaison Technologies this week launched an initiative to attract more partners to sell its cloud integration products and services. The company already has a successful business selling integration services through its cloud, thanks to the acquisition last year of HubSpan. Now, the idea is to grow the cloud service brokerage (CSB) business in any way possible, including letting partners sell it as a product, or even as their own white labeled services offering.
Even before buying HubSpan and its sophisticated CSB offering last year, Liaison had many irons in the integration fire. Its pre-HubSpan repertoire included Electronic Commerce Server (ECS), a traditional enterprise application integration (EAI) tool with managed file transfer (MFT) capabilities that could also be deployed as a hosted service; Delta, a universal data mapping and translation solution; and even traditional VAN services, thanks to its 2011 acquisition of nuBridges.
Less than six months from the acquisition, Liaison is now hashing out a cohesive strategy for selling ECS Delta and WebSpan, the SaaS integration platform that has executed integration processes for more than 20,000 customers, and which is now part of Liaison DXP (Data Exchange Platform). Megan Pulliam, Liaison’s vice president of channel sales, gave IT Jungle the low down on the company’s new SaaS Partner Program.
“We’re taking a consultative approach from a partnership perspective, and looking at the needs of each community, and tailoring the set of services, the solutions that we offer to them, based on their knowledge of the clients needs,” Pulliam says. “If it’s a tool offering, we have a number of offerings we can put together” with ECS and Delta. If partners are looking for hosted integration, Liaison DXP is the obvious (though not only) choice.
“We’re seeing a need for complex integration services made easy,” Pulliam continues. “It’s a very daunting effort when a small or mid market company is forced to implement an application, and they realize they actually need to integrate it with other components of their business, as well as components outside of their business, whether it’s a marketplace or another cloud customer or trading partner. We’re providing the defacto standard today for a number of companies under the covers, as well as through referral partnerships like we have with Netsuite.”
Liaison receives referrals from NetSuite representatives when a client presents application or data integration needs that Liaison can fill. Most of the NetSuite work has been in the wholesale distribution and manufacturing areas, such as communicating with shippers and 3PLs. Liaison CSB doesn’t provide everything required out of the box. “But like everything with the 80/20 rule, we have 80 percent of what we need, and work with customers on the rest of the 20 percent. Whether its software or services, we have a deep bench of professional and managed services engineers who have done this day in and day out for the last 15 years.”
HubSpan didn’t work directly with customers in amassing 20,000 users, and doesn’t plan to work directly with all customers going forward either. “We’re behind the covers on a lot of things that we haven’t announced,” Pulliam says. “We’ve allowed our partners to take credit for adding value-added services and offerings to their portfolio of services for their clients.”
Liaison doesn’t mind taking a backseat to customers and allowing them to white label or rebrand Liaison’s CSB offerings, as long as Liaison gets a piece of the action. Pulliam says Liaison is looking at repackaging its integration services in a way that makes it more partner-centric. “It was not really a focus that the company had before. This is us doubling-down on our partner community,” she says. “We’re able to provide them a more cost effective price for the overall solution, and by working with them over time–like we have with companies like Ariba–we’re able to streamline offerings. We both gain efficiencies in the way we deliver the services.”
This article was updated. The WebSpan product is now part of Liaison’s DXP (Data Exchange Platform).