Imagine building a sales force of hundreds of reps with only a few actual reps on the payroll. Sounds too good to be true, right? By leveraging the channel, this could be a reality — and that’s just one of the many benefits of a channel partnership.

I have long been a believer that leveraging the channel is the best way for any IT vendor to grow their revenue exponentially. The channel eases the pains of scaling, allows partners to have a deeper understanding of an organization’s needs, and helps to create a local presence, despite a vendor being states or, potentially, continents away.

With a problem to solve, a solution and a dedicated channel program, the customer, partner and vendor can all benefit. The customer gets local support and typically a single group to work with (aka one throat to choke) and the partner can solve new and challenging problems for the customer, all from their own backyard.

Lastly, the vendor has the chance to get their solution into markets that previously were out of their reach. The channel is their chance to gain a strong understanding of what a customer needs in an ever-evolving technological landscape. That’s precisely the mindset that SmartFile had when we revamped SmartFile’s channel program.

Security & Governance Issues Around Sharing Files

When we started the mission to enhance SmartFile’s channel program for our enterprise solution, FileHub™, we had two basic goals in mind: provide the partner community with a solution that addresses a universal problem and allow them to add value in a way end users didn’t know was possible.

We are all aware of how important file sharing is to an organization. While it’s not the most exciting technology, it is critical for everyday business. This is why a file management tool is necessary for addressing many of the issues that have cropped up around file sharing today.

For instance, one problem businesses are facing regarding file management is cloud sprawl. When employees use a variety of platforms to share files (many not approved by IT), sensitive documents can end up in locations that lack any sort of oversight by IT. The organization no longer has control of those files, which can open them up to the risk of a data breach.

This brings up an even more significant problem, how do you mitigate risk and provide governance over all of the different file storage environments? When I recently presented this conundrum to one of our business partners, a light bulb went off. They understood the challenge, but had no idea how traditional file sharing solutions would address the problem.

In today’s ultra-secure and sensitive society, it’s paramount that personal and classified information does not fall into the wrong hands. What happens if someone accesses a patient’s medical records with malicious intent or top secret government documents are accessed by non-authorized personnel? The financial repercussions are enough to scare anyone, and, worse yet, lives could be at risk. These are the real world problems that organizations are trying to address.

How the Channel Helps with File Management Tools

Enter the Systems Integrator (SI). SIs are a customer’s trusted advisors and critical omniscient consultants that consistently look to add value to each area of IT. That’s why I love presenting business partners with a solution that can solve a critical problem, provide a unique advantage for a partner and prevent the security risks associated with cloud and file sprawl.

Now that we’ve discussed the challenges organizations are experiencing, most partners are thinking, what’s in it for me? (I’m kidding, all partners are trusted advisors that are always looking out for the best interest of their customers!).

A few weeks ago, I was working with a partner whose expertise is networking and unified communications. After we discussed the value proposition of FileHub™ and the play with both security and storage, they instantly got excited.

So, when I asked why they suddenly got excited, I assumed it was my pitch or general charm. Alas, that assumption was incorrect, but I can dream. Instead, their excitement was about how SmartFile’s FileHub™ solution had the ability to bring IT departments together that may normally work in silos (i.e., encouraging communication between the storage team and security team).

With SmartFile, partners have the opportunity to connect groups that may work in silos. By gaining access to other departments, an SI can push the IT groups to collaborate. As well, they can have access to the security and storage teams, which allows a partner to form new relationships, create new opportunities and get a seat at a new table.

A solution that touches multiple groups and solves a new problem clearly shows a huge value add and a strong understanding of a customer’s needs (even if the customers is unaware of how bad a cloud/file sprawl or Shadow IT problem may be). This is what SmartFile can provide.

SmartFile is Committed to the Partner Community

With this channel expansion, SmartFile remains committed to the partner community. Partners can register their opportunities for additional margin, deal protection and the guarantee that they will be the only customer-facing partner.

SmartFile provides a dedicated resource for each partner from both a sales and technical perspective. The benefits of the channel are endless, and SmartFile provides a perfect opportunity for both partners and end users to mutually benefit from secure file management.

Want to Become a SmartFile Partner?

SmartFile has multiple programs that help Systems Integrators and Managed Service Providers create recurring revenue while reducing the headache and stress of endpoint management for their clients.

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About Tyler Snetselaar

I am the Director of Strategic Alliances at SmartFile. I am responsible for enabling SmartFile's partner community and helping them provide value to their end users. When I'm not doing that, I'm probably cheering on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

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