Tenzing launches formal channel program

Raj Atwal Tenzing

Tenzing engineering and partner development veep Raj Atwal

Toronto-based Tenzing Managed IT Services is looking to expand its connections through the channel with the launch of its first-ever formal channel program.

Tenzing is focused on e-commerce and SaaS hosting, and has worked with a variety of partners in the past, including VARs, Sis and cloud-focused solution providers. But the company has trimmed its set of partners ahead of launching the new program – a move it says is to help make sure its adding value to its partners, and that its partners are reciprocating.

“The song and dance of signing up partners is relatively easy,” said Raj Atwal, vice president of engineering and partner development at Tenzing. “The hard part is making partnerships successful and rewarding for both sides.”

So while some partners are being grandfathered into the new Premier Partner Program, the advanced level of the program, others are being slotted into its Referral partner level – a simpler engagement for partners who may find opportunities, but aren’t really focused on working closely with Tenzing to develop and support customers. “They lob it over, and if we close it, we compensate them,” Atwal said. Any partner that finds opportunities for the hosting provider can sign up as a Referral partner on Tenzing’s Web site and have the partnership cemented within 24 hours.

At the Premier Partner level, the focus is on working more collaboratively with its solution providers, which include systems integrators, VARs, Web developers and application developers. Under the Premier tier, Tenzing and partners share KPIs and go-to-market strategies for customers, and get many of the usual partner program benefits – marketing air cover, new business development and strategic planning and the like.

Given the company’s focus on hosting, Atwal said it’s a logical fit for partners looking to help their customers move into various aspects of the omnipresent cloud.

“Cloud computing is changing the way customers look at IT, and [solution providers] are going to be locked out of the conversation if they don’t have ways to deliver those services,” he said of the switch of focus from capex to opex. “We’re selling more based on solving customer business problems rather than selling from a catalogue of products. Our best partners have that methodology too.”

To keep that community fairly close-knit, the company vets and qualifies partners for the Premier program, making sure there’s a good fit both in terms of business focus and culture. Partners can sign up on the company’s Web site, and after both parties get to know each other, it gets into discussion about details like sales force compensation and training and co-marketing.

While the company’s focus is on the Canadian market, it’s also on the lookout for U.S.-based partners as well. Currently, about 30 per cent of the company’s business comes from outside of Canadian borders, especially with clients who have Canadian operations or Canadian customers, and want to – or need to – host applications for Canadian users on Canadian soil.