SaaS BI vendor SiSense names first channel chief

SiSense has a short sales cycle for BI, and is offering aggressive margins, including the same margins on renewals.


Mark Ferretti, Vice President, Global Alliances & Channels, SiSense


SiSense, which sells Big Data analytics through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, has appointed channel and BI veteran Mark Ferretti to the new position of Vice President, Global Alliances & Channels. Ferretti will be charged with developing and growing a global network of alliances and partners.

“It’s building a channel up from scratch, which is exciting,” Ferretti said.

SiSense is another company from the very fruitful Israeli R&D tree, officially launched in 2010, very well funded (having just closed $USD 30 million in Series C financing), and based in Tel Aviv and New York City.

“It really is the next evolution in BI,” said Ferretti, who has spent 20 years in BI, most of it in channels, with Computer Associates, Business Objects, QlikTech and Cognos. “Because of our model and way we license, we are less expensive than the other tools out there, but there is more to it than that. This is simpler, and it is really agile. We don’t just do visualization of data. We have a back end, and if you have multiple data sources and you are looking to pull from large volumes of data – hundreds of millions of rows – this tool can’t be beat in the industry.”

Despite the power of their tool, SiSense has only recently begun to find success in the enterprise.

“We started out strong in the SMB and midmarket, and now as our name is getting out there, and we are growing, we are getting into the enterprises,” he said. “But lots of companies are relatively small, but need to get at those data sources, like a professional sports team that wants data analysis, or small companies that look at Excel spreadsheets.”

SiSense started by selling direct, although Ferretti said partners were always there in an “unofficial” capacity.

“Now I’ve been here a month, and the channel is now official capacity,” he said. “Our plans are to use the channel to grow.” Ferretti said that even though SiSense still has its direct sales force, the company is set up to avoid conflict.

“We are looking to channel as being the outbound engine of the company,” he said. “Unlike some companies, we don’t segregate where partners can and can’t sell. We also do little or no services – only at customer request – and it’s not something we are looking to build up.”

Ferretti said that even though they are a relatively new company, there is lots about them and their model that appeals to potential partners.

“It’s about selling the model and the opportunity for them to get payback,” he said. “We can show them it’s a win-win. Traditional BI and data visualization tools have a longer sell cycle. Our sales cycle time is shorter, so it’s a quicker ROI for a partner to come in, start selling sooner, and hopefully invest in more sales people covering the product.”

Ferretti said that being new, they also need to be aggressive with partner benefits.

“We have a very aggressive program for discounts,” he said. “It’s a repeatable model, year after year, and we give the same margin on renewals, which is a big differentiator for us. Our training also takes days, rather than weeks, like with some companies.”

Ferretti said that the more compressed sales cycle lets them target partners that might not be a fit for some of the companies who are out there.

“In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve talked with potential partners who have five people, and I’ve talked to some of the largest global integrators in the world,” he said.

“Our goal is not to sign up a plethora of partners, and we will be a bit choosy on the way in,” Ferretti said. “For our top partners, we want resellers looking to fill a business plan with us. Having a professional services practice is not a must, but is a ‘nice to have’ since we don’t want to do that ourselves. The sort of company that used to resell Crystal Reports should work well with us.”

SiSense is recruiting three types of partners: OEMs; Affiliate partners, typically consultants, who refer leads; and Reseller partners, who will provide level one support.

“We are looking for partners who are looking to grow their business with a disruptive company, so we are looking to build a partner ecosystem with all sorts of partner types,” Ferretti said.