Describe your company in five words or fewer.
Intelligent information management solution provider.
Tell us about how your channel program works.
The M-Files Channel Program provides opportunities for partners to sell our platform, provide professional services to customers and develop certified applications that extend the M-Files platform further. We offer authorized partner and certified partner logo programs, as well as Bronze, Silver and Gold level recognition.
We have a dedicated team of account managers, channel consultants and channel marketing staff who provide numerous levels of assistance in the field and side-by-side with partners, including business planning, pre-sales support, lead generation, proposal and quote development, as well as deal closing.
Our partners have access to the M-Files Partner Portal for deal registration, as well as access to a wide variety of sales, marketing, technical and training materials. Partners are trained and certified via the M-Files Academy e-learning platform, where partner staff members can earn multiple technical certifications at their own pace. Field-based training courses are also available in different regions and languages.
Finally, we have annual partner-only conferences in North America and Europe, where our entire channel organization, product management team and numerous members of our executive team spend multiple days focusing on updating and engaging with our partners.
What do you think is the most challenging trend in the channel today?
From our perspective, a massive wave of consumerization is washing over enterprise IT, and employees expect technology at work to be as easy and powerful as the technology they use in their day-to-day life. This creates a challenge in the channel as partners must quickly adapt to keep up with this trend.
Ultimately, they need to ensure the products in their portfolio are aligned with expectations that customers now have for IT and technology in general, i.e. solutions that are straight forward to roll out and deploy and, most importantly, easy for employees on the ground to adopt and use.
If you had to give your channel partners one piece of advice, what would it be?
Prioritize hiring and developing strong technical people and go above and beyond to ensure they stay motivated with a healthy mixture of good compensation, ongoing education and, critically, opportunities to truly make an impact for customers.
Based on my experience, the best channel partners in the business are viewed as trusted advisors by their customers. That, of course, does not happen overnight, and in order to earn that confidence from customers, a partner needs to have a track record of developing technical competence and subject matter expertise in the industry or market they are serving.
What are the three most important things partners need from vendors to be successful?
Assuming that having the right product is a given, I would emphasize these three topics:
1). Enablement - A partnership will typically run into a dead end quickly if a vendor is not focused on enabling a partner from the get-go to ensure they have the right foundation in place to be successful.
A structured onboarding and training process must be available to enable a partner's technical, delivery, sales and marketing teams. A written business plan also needs to be signed so both sides see eye-to-eye on responsibilities and mutually agreed-upon business objectives and outcomes.
2). Responsiveness - Partners have their own SLAs with customers, and it is critical that vendors are as responsive as possible when questions or issues crop up. Partners need to know that a vendor will answer their calls when they need help, which is inevitable. At the end of the day, a partner's reputation is on the line with their customers, and a vendor should be diligent in helping ensure that reputation is maintained.
3). Transparency. - A strong, successful channel is simply an extension of a vendor's own operation and team. A foundation of trust between a vendor and a partner is directly connected to how well a channel partner ultimately performs.
What is your favorite conference location?
Barcelona, Spain because it offers the ideal conference location trifecta: unique destination (blend of coastal and European city flavor), great weather and lively culture (history, architecture, food, nightlife and more).
What IT trends do you expect to see dying out over the next 18 months to two years?
First, the traditional, perpetual, on-premises software licensing model is coming to an end, and subscription-based pricing will become the new norm.
Second, IT systems and applications that have historically operated in a siloed capacity will become a thing of the past, and system interconnectivity will become a priority.
In addition, complex, drawn-out IT and software deployment projects will be greatly diminished.
Finally, traditional "enterprise" software applications will be replaced by highly-configurable, agile solutions.
Scott Erickson is the SVP of worldwide channel sales at M-Files. Scott joined M-Files in 2009, and his responsibilities are focused on developing and managing the M-Files Partner Program, which consists of a network of SIs, solution providers and VARs throughout the world.
Scott has over 17 years of experience in sales roles in the software industry. Prior to M-Files, Scott served in other sales-focused roles, including VP of sales at Alibre, Inc., where he was responsible for guiding both direct and indirect sales efforts worldwide and for developing Alibre's channel program from the ground up.
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