Kitchener-based Intranet provider Igloo looking to build out channel in North America

Igloo, which makes a cloud-based SaaS solution that includes Intranets within a broad array of collaboration and other business apps, presently has no partners in North America. Now, however, having piloted a partner program in other geos last year, they are looking to change that.

Chris Myers, Igloo’s VP Partners and Alliances

Kitchener ON-based intranet provider Igloo is looking to build out a partner channel. The company established a channel program last year and piloted it in Australia and the U.K. It is now looking to build out a select channel of partners in North America.

Igloo is not a new company. They have been around since 2008, with their product now being a cloud-hosted SaaS offering which integrates Intranet capabilities and cloud applications, including integrated file management, messaging, collaboration, and other business apps.

Their growth has really taken off in the last two years, with the general growth of the cloud. Chris Myers, Igloo’s VP Partners and Alliances, came on board last year in response to this. The company has continued to add additional new resources to assist in building out their partner ecosystem.

“Recruiting non-productive partners is a waste of everybody’s time, so we have added a service partner manager to run enablement plans with the partners,” Myers said. “In addition to developing self-help tools, she makes sure a partner has a go-to point person to train them on the platform. We are also bringing on a partner marketing manager, to enable and empower partners to be productive, and have also earmarked an experienced Igloo veteran as a sales resource for partners, so partners can learn from people who have done it themselves. All of this is geared to making sure we resource the channel appropriately to try to avoid the 80-20 rule, and make all our partners productive.”

In North America, Igloo is in a position to try and make sure all its partners are productive because they are starting from scratch, with no partners signed up at the moment, although they are talking with some potential ones. While they formalized a partner program last year, they essentially piloted it in other geos before bringing it here.

“We wanted validation that the program was solid before we took it to prime time,” Myers said. “We launched it in Australia in September and the U.K. in October, and added a couple partners in each of those geos. Having been successful there, we are now looking to replicate it here in North America.

Myers said his objective is to add between 20 and 25 quality North American partners in 2017.

“We aren’t looking to bring in a lot of partners, with our goal for 2017 being to add this core of highly dedicated partners,” he stated. “In Canada, if we were to find 3-5 highly engaged partners with collaboration and web development experience, that would be ideal.”

The strategy will include adding non-traditional partners.

“Ten years ago the channel was VARs and SIs and distributors, but now much of the traditional channel is graying, which is a challenge for us, and all sorts of new companies are coming into the channel,” Myers said. “Digital agencies providing recommendations and services are absolutely a target market for us. MSPs are also a key target.

“The Microsoft partner ecosystem, particularly those who have been building solutions off of Sharepoint, is an important hunting ground for us – although being a Microsoft partner is not a requirement,” Myers added.

“What is top of mind for us is that we want partners to have ongoing value throughout the lifecycle of the customer. We built a program that compensates partners perpetually on a percentage of the annual hosted revenue. In a SaaS economy, customer churn can be a killer, so we want to make sure we have a compensation model that incents the partner to be there through the entire lifecycle as well as at launch.”

Igloo is also partnering with other vendors, adding integrations to broaden their own capabilities. They are a Microsoft Gold partner and are now partnered with 15 vendors in total.

“We would ideally like to add about 3-5 vendor partners per quarter throughout 2017,” Myers said. “For Q1, we already have a couple new ones keyed up, one of them in the employee recognition space. It’s all about picking the right alliances – recognizing the gaps in our core product and filling the gaps with alliance partners to extend the functionality of our platform.”

Myers said this broadening of their reach through channel and vendor alliances positions them well.

“The market is growing at such a rate that there are plenty of green fields opportunities,” he stated. “We are in the right place at the right time, with a head start of eight years over other companies in this space.”