French communication platform vendor LumApps looks to build out Microsoft channel

LumApps, which is aggressively expanding in North America and now sells more here than in Europe, has joined the Microsoft Partner eXperience program and plans to build out a strong Microsoft channel, as they have already done with Google.

French startup LumApps is placing a big bet with Microsoft. The company, which makes a comprehensive employee communication platform, has joined Microsoft’s select Microsoft Partner eXperience [PAX] program, expanding an existing partnership around Microsoft Teams and Office 365. LumApps was an exhibitor at the just-concluding Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando, to raise awareness of their partnering with Microsoft. LumApps, which does most of its business through the channel, is strong in the Google ecosystem, but is looking to build out a Microsoft channel which is much less developed.

LumApps believes that it has a highly differentiated solution which overcomes the limited scope typically found in these kinds of platforms.

Olivier Chanoux, LumApps’ co-founder and CMO

“The global market for employee communication platforms is very fragmented, into social, community, intranet and portals,” said Olivier Chanoux, LumApps’ co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “We have a differentiator in that we address all four markets with one unique solution. We foster team collaboration on a peer to peer level, and turn all these engaged employees into employee social advocates – every single user – making them an ambassador of your company.”

Given that LumApps touches on many markets, they have many competitors, particularly as they sell to some smaller companies as well as large ones.

“We go after very big enterprise logos, who have more than 50,000 users, like Airbus and Japan Airlines,” Chanoux said.

“We also have customers who would be considered to be smaller ones,” said Florian Delille, North East Region Strategic Account Manager and Canada Country Lead at LumApps. “In Canada, these include TMX, the Toronto stock market, Ellis-Don, the construction company, and cable company Cogeco.

Florian Delille, LumApps North East Region Strategic Account Manager and Canada Country Lead

“A smaller company like  Cogeco wanted a platform that was easy to use,” Delille added. “A key use case was to get knowledge in one place and be able to share it, so that if if people left, their knowledge didn’t leave with them.”

LumApps first began U.S.-based operations a little over two years ago, as a direct result of an important strategic relationship with Google.

“We had a good opportunity to partner with Google,” Chanoux said. “That was in 2017. Because we were an innovative company in their ecosystem, Google asked us to come to the U.S. and Japan.”

Since then, the business in North America has taken off.

“We have more than 60 employees in the US and its just a start,” Chanoux stated. “Today in the U.S. and Canada, we make more revenue than we do in Europe.”

They presently sell into Canada out of the U.S., but they expect that to change soon.

“We have been managing the Canadian market out of New York,” Chanoux indicated. “We are looking at establishing a  Canadian office in 2020. We have 20-25 customers in Canada today.”

The Microsoft relationship began quietly.

“There was a huge investment that began in the middle of last year, and which was secret at that time,” Chanoux said. “We acquired our first Microsoft customers in the fall of last year. Since September of 2018, we have gone to Seattle, and now we are part of their PAX program, we have the same status with Microsoft that we have with Google.

That initial work with Microsoft led to Microsoft Teams being integrated into the LumApps Social Intranet, as well as an Office 365 integration with the LumApps Employee Dashboard, that gives employees a quick overview of their working day on a single page.

Now, the participation in the PAX program will let LumApps product and development teams  work in close collaboration with Microsoft and better align roadmaps. In addition, LumApps has been selected by Microsoft as one of only 10 European startups participating in The Boost Program within PAX.

“We now have a deep integration with Microsoft, with the goal of having just as deep an integration as we have with Google G Suite,” Chanoux indicated. “We now have a seamless functionality, and it’s just a question of acquiring new logos.”

LumApps used the Ignite show to highlight the first example of this deeper collaboration, an integration with Graph Notification from Microsoft that produces a new enterprise product feature, Integrated Notification Center.

“We are working towards being in the Azure co-sell program in 2020,” Chanoux stated.

Leveraging the giant channels of huge partners like Google and Microsoft is a no-brainer. As the Google relationship is older, that channel is much more built out. LumApps has big expectations from the Microsoft channel, however.

“Since Day One, we have leveraged these global ecosystems,” Chanoux noted. “We are good on the Google partnership, and have a good ecosystem today. When it comes to Microsoft, its not quite a white page, but we are actively sourcing partners in the U.S., Canada and Japan. The target by early 2020 is to build out that partnership.”

Most of LumApps’ business goes through partners.

“Between 50-60% of the sourcing of leads comes from partners, and in terms of  signing and booking, it’s about 80% through partner paper,” Chanoux said. “The  direct business is mainly just some very strategic deals.”

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