New Cloud Tools Aim to Streamline, Monetize Partner Relationships

AppDirect on Tuesday announced new products and functionality for its Cloud Commerce Platform.

The new tools, AppReseller and Cloud Management Suite, enable software vendors to launch reseller partner programs quickly. Software as a Service providers can use the new capabilities to help their small and mid-sized business users manage and leverage their software more effectively.

AppReseller helps software vendors monetize partner relationships by enabling channel partners to spin up customer accounts and place orders in real time.

With AppReseller, vendors can accomplish the following tasks:

  • Set up a portal to onboard and manage partners;
  • Get a granular view of data on the status of partnerships, including leads, pipeline, influenced revenue and attributed revenue;
  • View sales, costs and revenue across a partner ecosystem through a single dashboard; and
  • Automate payments and reconciliations between themselves and partners and resellers.

“AppDirect does provide our partners with this data, but AppReseller’s built as a standalone product to enable partners to build their own reseller networks,” said AppDirect CEO Daniel Saks.

“It wasn’t designed to replace these tools but to supplement these systems,” he told CRM Buyer.

Customers no longer have to be a part of the AppDirect reseller ecosystem, Saks noted.

“Think of it as a distribution channel in a box,” said Michael Jude, a research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

Still, “not really seeing a lot here,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“Most CRM vendors provide capabilities for partner relationship management as well,” she told CRM Buyer, “that’s directly tied into CRM data.”

Improved Cloud Management

The AppDirect Cloud Management Suite has a new centralized data hub for AppDirect and connected apps.

Among its new capabilities:

  • Includes new home feeds providing timely, relevant updates;
  • Allows universal search across AppDirect and connected apps;
  • Provides data visualization for business intelligence across all of an AppDirect customer’s or partner’s apps;
  • Enables single sign on and access management across all apps, including those purchased elsewhere;
  • Lets developers push content to AppWise search indexing and text feeds; and
  • Lets developers push data to AppInsights for visualization and dashboards.

The Importance of Portals

“SMBs benefit because AppDirect has lowered the cost of distribution and dramatically reduced the cost to set up their own channel with expanding capabilities once they are onboarded,” Saks said.

“Typically a very manual process lies behind most portals, but AppDirect’s providing a fundamentally different approach that’s automated — and at a much lower cost,” he added.

That said, “the partner portal concept is not new,” Nucleus Research’s Wettemann pointed out.

“It isn’t the portal so much as it is the supporting back-office capabilities,” Frost’s Jude told CRM Buyer.

“By providing a lot of the back-office accounting and customer management, [AppDirect] removes a great deal of the overhead software firms have when they go to market and try to establish their distribution channels,” he observed.

AppDirect’s Google Cloud Partnership

AppDirect on Tuesday also announced that it is now a two-tier distribution partner with Google Cloud, so its channel partners can resell Google’s suite of cloud service products without needing to sign a direct contract with Google.

Channel partners can place orders for G Suite through the same checkout flow they use to sell their cloud services.

AppDirect will provide free training and support to help core distribution channel partners sell Google’s products and services, it said, noting that it can integrate the Google sales experience with any in-house services channel partners use, so they can leverage their existing processes.

AppDirect will continue to update its API so channel partners will have access to Google’s latest products.

“This provides an added set of capabilities that might be attractive to some businesses,” Jude noted. ” If I’m purchasing cloud computing services and I can get the G Suite … at the same time at a nominal cost, I might do that.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology. Email Richard.

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