ServiceChannel has sold their SaaS service automation platform for facilities managers and contractors direct for years, but technology-related demands have led them to create a partner program to provide the skillsets to integrate with their platform.
New York City-based ServiceChannel, which makes a SaaS service automation platform for facilities managers and contractors, has added a partner component to their formerly direct model and created a channel program. The idea is to bring in technologically sophisticated and vertically-focused partners to integrate with their platform, and provide more value to their customers.
“ServiceChannel is a B2B online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers,” said Tom Buiocchi, ServiceChannel’s CEO. “Our customers tend to be chains and chain-like organizations with many locations. They need to maintain all those properties in different locations, and it’s not something they can do with their own on-site staff. They rely on local service providers and contractors to do that, and it can be thousands of different trades people with larger chains. Managing all these people is a headache. It’s often hard to tell if they even show up. We provide software that allows facilities managers to contract with people at the other end of the job, that helps pay them, and provides data to analyze their performance.”
ServiceChannel has been around for 17 years, and with the advent of mobile phones, worked the ability to use the cloud into their business model. Buiocchi compared the core functionality of the service as similar to Uber or Lyft, with a different business and a B2B rather than a consumer orientation.
For almost all of those 17 years, ServiceChannel sold through a direct model. Technology, particularly related to the Internet of Things, has created new challenges for the company, for which partners provided a solution.
“We have been providing a horizontal solution for many years,” Buiocchi said. “However, technology has created new requests among customers, to provide services around things like underground gas tank monitoring. These were very specific needs, and in areas where we had no expertise at all. So when they bubbled up, we had a choice of ignoring the opportunity, for finding partners who had the expertise.”
To illustrate, Buiocchi highlighted three of the inaugural eight members in the program
“We built an inspection tool of our own that you can run on your iPad,” he said. “Our partner, Archaio, has one where embedded in the application is the digitized blueprint of the stuff under the wall. They are specialists in this embedded stuff, so integrating them into our platform creates new value for our customers.
Buiocchi also highlighted Titan, which has an IoT monitoring device for underground gas tanks, and TempAlert, which does specialized temperature monitoring, working with clients like pharmacies and grocery stores.
“We aren’t experts in those things, and the partners know how to maintain them to a certain quality standard,” he said.
The other announced partners are Avalara, GridPoint, PhoenixEnergy, Powerhouse Dynamics and SpaceIQ.
“We have about eight more partners in waiting,” Buiocchi said. “We have our customer conference coming up in Las Vegas in September, and we wanted to get this news out now, and showcase these first eight partners for our customers at the event. We have done these kind of shows before, but never with all the customers under one roof. It’s an ideal setting to introduce the partners to them.”
Buiocchi said that while there’s no real limit on the type of vertical solutions that can integrate with their platform – that it’s limited only by imagination and creating the software – it’s still a fairly specialized field for partners.
“We won’t find 10,000 resellers for this,” he said. “It’s specialized people who do asset management and IoT solutions. It’s not a mass market approach. However, most of our customers didn’t even know that solutions like this existed before. We are exposing them to our customers.”