It was only a couple of years ago that people were discussing at length the ability of SaaS to bypass the traditional channel partnership model. The theory went that consumer product style the long Tail, would mean a direct to market strategy would be sufficient to get SaaS vendors to scale.
That idea has been flipped on its head and not a day goes by without another exciting and interesting channel partnership deal. There’s a couple that, considering they’re within the portfolio of companies I watch closely, i though I’d comment on.
First up comes AccountsIQ’s announcement that Deloitte Australia has decided to launch an online accounting service to its clients based on the accountsIQ software. Rationalising the partnership, Peter Williams, CEO of Deloitte Digital, said that;
Businesses are becoming increasingly impatient with the inflexibility and cost of traditional financial systems. AccountsIQ provides customers with the ability to securely record transactions, monitor performance and prepare financial reports. We see this as a fundamental change in the way accountants work and in the type of the work they can do. It changes the nature of the client-accountant relationship from a ‘once a year’ contact to an ongoing conversation; from accountant to business advisor. It includes collaboration capability such as a clever bulletin board feature which allows our accountants and clients to post messages for one another in a secure online forum
It’s something that I have to admit being somewhat sceptical of in the early days of SaaS accounting. SaaS, at least to a certain extent, disrupts accountants. Sure it can give them an opportunity to add significant value, but it also cuts in to their bread and butter work. It’s really great to see a company like Deloitte see the extra value that a product deluivered via SaaS can bring.
Deloittes will get an own-branded version of AccountsIQ – it’s a great way for AIQ to increase both exposure and revenue with little spend.
Second up on channel Monday is PocketSmith the personal finance application that is garnering great praise from both users and commentators.
US-based Workplace Options and its UK division Employee Advisory Resource have signed up to use PocketSmith as an enhancement to the companies’ existing debt management services, to help employees with budgeting and financial planning.
Workplace Options is the world’s largest provider of work-life employee benefits, delivering support to over 18.5 million employees in more than 10,000 organisations.
Again this is a great win for PocketSmith. It gives them an excellent base to extend their reach to a huge audience, as well as exposing themselves to an entire level of potential influencers that they wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.
These two deals are only the tip of the iceberg however. In the past day I’ve had discussions with another two players who are in the process of negotiating some potentially massive partnerships – it just shows that while the players may have changed the channel partnership concept is alive and well.