TeamViewer looks to expand growing Augmented Reality business with first formal partner program

The old program was designed for TeamViewer’s legacy remote connectivity business, and while that business and the partners who sell it are still important to the company, they are increasing the emphasis on the higher value-add OT part of the business.

Robert Thiele, Vice President Strategic Alliances & Partners, Americas at TeamViewer

TeamViewer, which built up their business on remote connectivity solutions and has broadened their portfolio to cover a broader range of connectivity and workplace digitalization solutions, has announced their first formal partner program, TeamUP. The new program supports a broader range of partners, makes a bigger bet on more advanced partners, particularly in the OT space, and introduces a new unified partner portal that replaces a transaction-focused one with one that is focused on converged support of both the traditional and OT sides of TeamViewer’s business. The program will go live in April.

“We made our first attempt at a partner program in a more rudimentary way around 2019,” said Robert Thiele, Vice President Strategic Alliances & Partners, Americas at TeamViewer. “Then COVID hit. We also had some partner approaches from companies we had acquired on the Augmented Reality [AR] side. We have evolved from a one-product company to an enterprise company with a sophisticated portfolio – but we had not evolved our program to keep up with that. When you do deals around Augmented Reality, you have to train people, have proper certifications, and have sales skills which emphasize a business case rather than features. We needed to upskill our partner ecosystem, particularly since we have new types of partners that we have to enable to create 1 + 1 = 3. That requires a different program, processes and tools.”

TeamViewer essentially has two classes of partners. One is the traditional remote connectivity partners, who tend to be more transactional. The other is partners who work on deeper collaborations, who tend to be from the AR/OT side of the house.

“On the volume side we have 750-1000 partners who buy through distribution,” Thiele said. “In the deep collaboration space around augmented reality we have  dozens . In North America, it’s about 30 and then add the SIs to that. It is an entirely different system on the augmented reality side. For them we are an add-on to things they do with companies like Siemens.”

The unified partner portal is one of the highlights of the TeamUP program. The old portal was designed for the traditional remote connectivity business. The new portal is designed for a wider range of partners, including resellers, distributors, referral partners, managed service providers, and systems integrators.

“We did have a portal before but it  was very limited and focused on supporting transactions,” Thiele stated. “It was purely transactional and didn’t have a true enablement focus. This one is PRM that sits on top of our CRM. It reflects the fact that we see our traditional channel is now interested in OT, and our AR partners are showing interest in managing devices. The portal supports this convergence of IT and OT coming together. That’s not the tradition where we came from. We still do remote support, but it is a very different scenario.”

The new program features three different tiers, Business, Premium and Champion. While the emphasis in the new program is on the high-value OT partners who make up most of the top tier, Thiele stressed that the traditional partners aren’t being reduced to an afterthought.

“Most of the pure volume segment that doesn’t need much assistance are in the base Business segment,” Thiele said. “If they qualify, we promote them to the middle segment. A very few are Champions. We aren’t forcing anyone to change their business model. We give them choices. We aren’t abandoning anything on the volume segment, but our business has evolved.

“We need to support the volume business in a more hands-off way, using tools and distribution, so that our channel managers can work in a more targeted way in our Go-to-Market strategy,” Thiele continued. “We have to focus our resources on those that require more hand-holding, and work closely with the ones that have the most potential.

“We have also enabled our traditional partners with more marketing assets, where they can enable assets, co-brand them, and run targeted campaigns to their broad base,” Thiele said. “We are trying to be more sales play focused even in the volume business, doing cross-selling and up-selling on all fronts.”

Thiele said that some of TeamViewer’s best partners are at their partner summit this week.

“We provide strategy and roadmap updates and two days of intense training around sales, IT [remote management ) and OT [augmented reality]. They do technical certifications too. We are formally launching the program in April, so they will be the first to absorb these things. Some are in the beta too.”

Looking ahead, Thiele identified some parts of the road map.

“We aren’t stopping here,” he said. “We will evolve the PRM system much further, to enhance cloud subscriptions and provide a better dashboard to partners to manage their business. We are also thinking about adding Partner Advisory Councils. Getting them all together in Vegas this week is a first step. It’s  the start of a journey, not a one and done. The message is that we want to get closer to them and support them more, although it’s a two way street . We also want them to invest in us and benefit  from that.

“We also want to make sure partners know the gold mine they are sitting on, Thiele stressed. “They often don’t know how these things fit together and the new opportunities that result.”