BIO-key remakes channel program to meet needs of new platform approach

BIO-key’s broadening of their offerings, from their initial biometric solutions to a broader range of IAM solutions delivered through a platform, has led them to remake their channel program, to help partners sell the platform.

Fred Corsentino, BIO-key’s Chief Revenue Officer

BIO-key, which has expanded its biometric IAM [identity and access management]  solutions into the PortalGuard ID as-a-Service platform,  has reshaped their partner program, which is only two years old. The expanded Channel Alliance Partner [CAP] program has been designed to support partners taking the platform offering to market.

“The number one reason we changed the program was to match what we are now selling,” said Fred Corsentino, BIO-key’s Chief Revenue Officer. “When we started, we were very biometrics centric. Now with the PortalGuard platform, we do have the integrated biometrics, but it is only one part of a broader ID-as-a-service offering. The platform now enables a much wider demand, and we believe the best Go-to-Market for that is with the channel.”

BIO-key’s move to a platform strategy, which was facilitated by acquisition, accelerated the company’s move to the channel and led to the establishment of what Corsentino calls a channel-first strategy.

The program now has been 50 and 100 partners registered. Corsentino said that they are looking to the program to expand this somewhat, as well as to better enable this existing partner base.

“We want to focus on our core markets – SLED [state, local and education], financial services, especially community banks and credit unions, higher education, and some manufacturing –and we are trying to match our Go-To-Market with our partners, targeting the same targets,” Corsentino said. “That requires an expansion effort, and we want to have good geographical coverage in the top market tiers.”

Corsentino said the program also has been developed to maximize support provided partners transitioning to selling the platform.

“There’s a bit of a learning curve, because they are selling different solutions,” he indicated, “My experience, especially in starting a new program, is that partners need startup help – good onboarding. So every opportunity that we work with a partner will have an end user rep and a solution architect attached to it – a direct touch model – to help the partner close their first one, two or three deals.”

The program is a single tier one at this point.

“We are going out with the single tier model, and treating all partners the same,” Corsentino indicated. Different business models, like MSPs, are handled with a different type of contract rather than different program status.

“We are looking at different distribution programs to help us as well, including a master agent program,” Corsentino said. “It’s in the process of being finalized now. Its objective is to ensure that we have geographic coverage in the top markets, not necessarily the small towns that are commonly associated with agents. Today, so many MSPs are now agents, and many agents are becoming MSPs, that this is another way of making sure that we have the coverage we need.”

Corsentino noted that the CAP program has the components that partners would expect to find in a state of the art program, like deal registration and a portal. They do not have a certification program at this stage, and while they may revisit that later, Corsentino doesn’t think it will be necessary.

“We don’t have a certification program yet because we believe that the platform is easy to work with,” he said. “All my sales team is being trained to do demos and we will supply partners with training and support. If we see that there is a need for certification, we will look at introducing that. We don’t think we will need one, but we will see.”

Corsentino also emphasized that BIO-key is differentiated from other IAM platform providers.

“We are different with the biometrics,” he said. “A partner doesn’t have to use it, but it is a differentiator for us, and in the channel, one that is relatively new. In addition, not every vendor has on-prem and cloud-based solutions with feature parity. We are seeing strong sentiment for IDaaS cloud but we do offer an on prem solution. While in education we are seeing strong movement to cloud, in local government, that can vary, and there is still some on-prem demand.”