Add Jazz, a Pittsburgh company with a SaaS platform aimed at HR professionals, to the list of software developers that have launched a formal partner program designed to reward third parties for recommending and supporting their cloud-based software applications.
Late in June, the company unveiled the official Jazz Partner Program, complete with three tiers named after precious metals (Platinum, Gold and Silver in this instance) and key benefits designed to attract IT service professionals among others.
“Like many SaaS organizations, we recognize the need to build a robust partner program that not only includes allies from industry but also professional IT services companies that can expand their businesses by recommending and supporting SaaS-based HR solutions,” says Jazz CEO Pete Lamson.
Jazz CEO Pete Lamson
Lamson, a former global sales leader from backup technology provider Carbonite, says Jazz is ideally suited to provide benefits brokers, HR consultants, recruiters and IT professionals an opportunity to “be rewarded for the role they play as trusted advisors to small businesses.”
The company is following the path of many SaaS companies that have launched formal channel programs for IT solution providers after starting out with other go-to-market strategies including direct sales. Some of these companies have reached out to industry partners such as accountants or, in the case of Jazz, benefits brokers. A significant number have also turned to the IT channel after realizing that it provides the most efficient means possible for covering a marketplace. Last month, for example, open source software developer ZeroStack launched a new partner program. In April, Q4 Inc., a leading provider of SaaS investor relations solutions, debuted its partner program. That followed news in February that Oracle was launching the Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Cloud Program, which came on the heels of a number of similar announcements from software companies large and small, including cloud giant AWS. (AWS launched its partner program in late 2014, according to Talkin’ Cloud.)
While some programs are just getting going, others are starting to show results. In January, for example, 451 Research analyst Liam Eagle noted in a report that, “Two years after launching its cloud partner program, Vormetric says it has become the fastest-growing source of revenue at the company, and now represents a broad set of service provider partners, including some of the largest in the managed infrastructure space.”
As for Jazz, Lamson tells Penton Technology that he has high hopes for his partner program, which he believes offers significant upside for companies that sell to HR departments in addition to traditional IT organizations within companies. “The advance in HR tech really represents both new opportunities and challenges for HR solutions providers, particularly in the SMB space, where we are focused,” says Lamson. The Jazz channel program, he adds, allows partners to stay current with HR technology while at the same time deepen customer relationships and grow recurring revenue in the process. The new program will also help partners remain competitive with emerging service aggregators such as Gusto that have developed aggressive offerings for end customers.
If that sounds enticing, there’s another reason why the Jazz value proposition might be appealing: 80 percent of its target customers, which include SMBs with between 50 and 500 employees, rely on inefficient tools and processes for talent recruitment and management. This includes Word documents, email messages and ad hoc meeting schedules to coordinate their talent recruitment efforts. Jazz, on the other hand, puts all of the tools necessary for professional recruitment together in an affordable and easy-to-use package, Lamson claims. This includes everything from candidate sourcing to resume parsing to interview scheduling and more.
“Given the advances in our technology and that 80 percent in our target customers have no solution for this at all, it really is a greenfield opportunity for channel partners to get in early on what is now a very hot and rapidly expanding market,” he says.
Companies that sign up to join the Jazz program will initially be granted “Gold”-level status, which will reward partners with a revenue share worth 20 percent of the amount of Jazz software they sell. In addition, they will also receive dedicated account management, generous tech support, marketing assistance and training.
To date, Jazz has thousands of paying customers, which renew at a rate of 90 percent. Although customers can still buy directly from the company if they choose, Lamson expects the bulk of the company's revenue to be generated by partners.
In the meantime, Lamson said he looks to expand sales internationally and is considering adding new capabilities that could pave the way for pursuing market adjacencies.
“At most companies, talent management and acquisition is talked about in almost sacred terms,” Lamson says. “’We put our people first,’ executives say. ‘People are our most important asset.’ It’s motherhood and Apple Pie to Corporate America. And on the other hand, HR solutions are usually the last to get funded and the first to get cut in virtually every corporation in America. One big reason is that they have been inefficient, labor intensive and difficult to justify. Jazz can streamline and enable all businesses to effectively recruit and mange solutions that bring on the best talent for their companies.”