**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
Progress Software is in the business of business applications. Its platform enables partners or customer IT teams to develop for desktops, the web and both cross-platform custom mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites, with API support. Just before the holidays, we caught up with Richard Stone, strategic partner program manager for the company, to talk channel opportunities.
While Salesforce, Microsoft via its Xamarin product, and Oracle compete in this space with specialists including Progress, Kony and Mendix for cloud-oriented shops, Progress’ offerings got a boost earlier this year with its acquisitions of Kinvey for back-end support and DataRPM for using predictive analytics and machine learning to alert when maintenance is needed on industrial IoT gear.
Progress has a focus on enterprise applications, and it offers an open-source version of its NativeScript tool. Partners considering a development practice – and cashing in on the trend of code as a high-margin product – or who have customers looking to mobilize or cloudify their apps should check out the program.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Richard Stone: Our customers and partners love the solid, always reliable consistency of our products and services. I would say our secret selling sauce is that we provide our customers and partners with technology and solutions that help them solve real-world problems. This is showcased in our “write once, run anywhere” Kinvey mobile platform. Our solid foundation, paired with our consistent road map of solutions, meets the varying needs of our customers and partners.
CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?
RS: Over the last five years, our program has evolved into a level of complexity that we had not intended. In 2018, we have decided to simplify the program and go back to basics. We want to focus on the needs of our partners, rather than administration of a program with goals and objectives that are difficult to measure.
We currently have three levels in each of our program types: Member, Premier and Elite. We identify, via a simple grid, the benefits and expectations of each level within the program. This allows our partners the ability to understand what our program will offer them and how they, as partners, can advance and grow through certifications, training, revenue growth and other mutually beneficial program growth criteria.
Our Sales Empowerment Programs are unique in that they provide our partners with expertise pertaining to cloud, marketing and sales programs, which is very different from standard enablement offerings. We also allow our partners to participate in a program called “Rising Star,” which allows them to exhibit their commitment to the partnership by …