Sharing the workload

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The changing work environment has thrown the doors open for dramatic growth for secure file sharing and collaboration platforms such as that from Workshare.

And that in turn, means opportunities for resellers, as the company tells Heather Wright.

The concept of a mobile workforce may have been a blessing for the workforce, but for those trying to collaborate with colleagues across disparate locations or working from smartphones or tablets while on the go, it also presents challenges.

And for IT managers it can present headaches. But where there’s a technology challenge, there’s also an opportunity for both the vendors and resellers, and it’s an opportunity US company Workshare is keen to grasp.

Laureen Smith, Workshare Asia Pacific vice president, says the cloud-enabled secure file sharing and collaborative platform – which began life as a document comparison tool for law firms – allows people to easily and securely create, share and manage high- value content anywhere, on any device.

Content owners can track and compare changes from contributors simultaneously via the cloud. The company’s enterprise collaboration applications are already in use by more than 1.8 million people in 70 countries, Workshare says, and last month it introduced Android and iPhone apps as an extension of the online collaboration product.

“It allows end-users to extend the capability from their PC onto tablets and smart devices,” Smith says. “And it means we now provide a complete, rounded offering to sell.”

Building a channel

Ryan Reyes, Workshare New Zealand country manager, says the company is currently building out its channel in New Zealand having previously done business here direct.

“Partners are critical for this region. Traditionally we’ve had few partners in ANZ, but growing our channel is definitely part of our strategy for growth.”

Reyes says he’s looking for partners who understand the cloud transaction model, with its shorter sales cycle.

He expects the company to pilot with two or three partners, and is keen to ensure each partner targets their own verticals, rather than competing with each other.

The company already has some Kiwi customers in the legal and finance space, but Reyes says Workshare is also keen to target verticals such as building and construction.

And while Reyes says there is scope to partner with large consulting firms – ‘a CRM consulting firm might lack collaboration functionality so we could be a complementary solution for them’ – he says it is equally keen to talk to smaller players.

Smith says Workspace will be offering incentives including marketing development funds and joint activities with partners to drive the market.

“The value proposition for our solution is that we provide a secure enterprise application to easily share files and collaborate anywhere, and we’re extending that reach with the mobile offerings.”

Reyes says as well as receiving the benefit of recurring revenue stream through the subscription model, there is also plenty of potential for consulting revenue.

“We don’t do any consulting services, so that’s an area wide open for resellers,” he says.

“On top of that there are services like migration which partners can offer on a case by case basis.”

Smith adds that the ‘viral nature’ of the product means there tends to be plenty of opportunity to resell additional product to the same customer. “Often a customer will buy 10-50 licenses, but then they soon want to add more,” she says.

“The growth opportunity is quite large, especially as we reach outside of legal and into other areas.”

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