StrongBox Data Solutions looks to appeal to new types of partners with expanded global channel program

The most prominent new feature is a redo of the partner portal, which has been designed to leverage new capabilities in the just-released new version of the company’s StrongLink software.

Floyd Christofferson, SBDS’s CEO

Portland-headquartered StrongBox Data Solutions [SBDS], which makes large-scale data management and archive solutions, has announced an expansion and revamp of their global channel program. The SBDS Ambassador Partner Program adds new resources, with the major one being a new partner portal that SBDS expects will help them reach out to new types of channel partners beyond their traditional reseller base.

“StrongBox Data Solutions was founded in Montreal, but it is now based in Portland,” said Floyd Christofferson, SBDS’s CEO. “We were founded by purchasing the assets of an older company that made a product called StrongBox. What it did was automated and simplified one small use case – archiving to tape. It was great at that, but it was a very limited use case, and customers had bigger problems than that. We realized that virtualization and simplification of tape was just a subset of what this could do, and if we expanded it out we would add significant value.”

StrongBox Data Solutions and the StrongLink platform were specifically created to address this.

“These date from 2017, which is the company’s real start date for what we do now, but it was built on that already existing customer base,” Christofferson said. Our StrongLink software is vendor-neutral, and we just launched the third generation of the product. It creates an abstraction layer across all storage types for unstructured data, so the user doesn’t necessarily even know that it moved. This allows moving data from expensive tiers without vendor lock-in or using stubs.”

SBDS customers include the US Library of Congress and NASA.

“Our customers typically have over 250 TB of unstructured data,” Christofferson said. “They also usually have more than one type of storage type, and want to be able to migrate data more easily.”

The decision to revamp the channel program was closely tied to the introduction  of the new version of StrongLink, in particular, being able to take it effectively to a broader base of partner types.

Lisa Hart, Director of Sales and Alliances, North America, at SBDS

“It’s not a change as much as it is an expansion,” said Lisa Hart, Director of Sales and Alliances, North America, at SBDS. “It will not only help our existing partners, but will be attractive to new partners as well. We always have worked closely with partners in terms of reaching out to customers, and we always take customers through a channel partner.”

The program’s focus is on working closely with a relatively small number of channel partners.

“The philosophy is about quality of partners  rather than quantity, and the focus is on select partners across industries and geos,” Hart said. “It’s not about having hundreds of partners. One of the beauties of this program announcement is that the latest generation of StrongLink allows us to expand even further with certain types of partners. In addition to VARs, it is now excellent for integrators, MSPs, and strategic alliances. It allows us to extend our reach.”

“Because our product is software, it enables a much better engagement with partners,” Christofferson added. We don’t sell hardware. Our management solution lets partners bring in new hardware solutions and help onboard them seamlessly into the customer’s existing environment. There are a lot of options there.”

One feature which has been remade for the new program is the SBDS Partner Portal, which provides a library of collateral and content, white papers, use cases, product and competitive-based training, private deal tracking, co-brandable assets, and ready-to-execute marketing campaigns.

“We revamped the portal for our third generation StrongLink,” Christofferson said. “The new software has a much broader set of features for multi-site replication and scale out HPC workflows, which will appeal to a broader community of partners that we can work with. We started out working very hard with a small set of partners. Now, the market is much better defined. The product is easier to deploy. We have lots of case studies. All these things have gelled. With the new portal, we provide a knowledge base with much more integration than before. Partners can see deal status so they can easily track what’s going on. We feel this brings the portal to a level that matches the state of the art as it is today.”

SBDS is also highlighting ongoing components of the program, including 100% guaranteed Deal Registration and protection, a disruptive pricing model which provides partners with competitive margins and recurring revenue opportunities, and access to qualified leads.

“We don’t just throw a deal over the wall to the partner, but work closely with them,” Christofferson said. “We have also been ramping up our inside sales teams to be tactical assistants to the partner community.

Proposal-based marketing investment funds have also been enhanced.

“These are customized based on each partner and what we can do with them,” Ward said.

The majority of SBDS customers are in the US and Europe, but they have some in Canada as well.

“We also continue to maintain the office in Montreal, which is now our legal and finance arm,” Christofferson said.