Digitate continues push to increase channel sales with new partner program

Digitate has released their new Elevate Partner Program, which adds tiering and emphasizes strong software margin renewal margins and long-term partner business plans.

Lou Sassano, Global Head of Channels at Digitate

Digitate, which makes software that uses AI and machine learning to intelligently manage IT and business operations, has announced their new Elevate Partner Program, which replaces a bare bones program that was in existence before. The new program coincides with Digitate ramping up from a company that had sold almost entirely direct to one that aspires to be at 50% channel sales in three years. It is designed to recruit and support partners who are looking to build a long-term AI automation practice.

“We launched in 2015 as part of TCS [Tata Consulting Services],” said Lou Sassano, Global Head of Channels at Digitate. “Some of the value in the ROI responses to our services were so profound that we decided to productize the solutions. There are six of them now, with the flagship being AiOps.” All of them are under the Ignio master brand.

“The product is true AI, which can understand the complete IT environment,” Sassano said. “When there is an IT incident, it can identify cases and heal itself without human intervention, in minutes or even seconds. This also allows the ability to scale the business without adding more people. Having a machine-based AI technology which can see how everything is related, and predict and prevent issues, is true digital transformation.”

Sassano said that the competition is limited, although other companies are now moving into self-healing from adjacent areas.

“BigPanda is in the space, and ServiceNow is getting into it, but no one does the whole closed loop system like us,” he stated.

Digitate’s sweet spot is larger enterprises.

“Our initial path of least resistance was the TCS customer base, which is essentially Fortune 1000,” Sassano indicated. “I started here two years ago to build out an indirect channel. Before that we had only sold direct, but we knew that we needed the channel to scale. Today, just under 10% of our business goes through partners and our goal is to get to 50% within three years. That’s aggressive.”

Sassano said that today, Digitate has around 50 partners, of which six are distributors and others are largely regional integrators.

“TCS is our largest partner,” he noted. “We are working with Tier Two integrators, and are looking for full service partners, for the most part.”

Sassano described the program that had been in place previously as the shell of a partner program.

“It would take a few months just to go through one agreement with a new partner,” he said. “Distribution allows us to scale. In the U.S., we use TDSYNNEX and Arrow. “They really simplify the ability for us to be introduced to the right partners, so we aren’t chasing 50 partners to get one.”

Sassano said that while the old program covered the core bases, this one takes it all to the next level.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to start with a blank slate,” he noted. “Having been with a large organization [IBM] with a lot of complexity in the program, I was able to put one together here that is simple. Basically, it’s aggressive with margin and discounts. A PRM tool we introduced last year also lets partners  co-brand material in a few clicks.

“We added a tier structure – Certified Premier and Elite – based both on revenue clip and the number of trained sales and presales technical people,” he indicated.

The program also has a software license structure that takes the renewals through the partners at the original margin discount, to provide them with a recurring, compounding revenue stream, as well as a significant professional services opportunity.

Sassano also stressed that defining a partner’s business proposition is important in the new program.

“We aren’t just looking at taking margins from software and implementation,” he said. “We are looking for partners who want to build a long-term AI automation practice. It’s not just about selling software. It’s putting together a long-term business plan. That’s especially important because our business model is still fairly new, and we are just hitting a growth curve.”

Partners have been receptive to the value proposition.

“They get it right away,” Sassano said. “It’s really provocative from a product and an outcome standpoint. In a way we have to prove ourselves, because it’s almost too good to be true, but we can show it to them.”