And the "disruptive" Australian vendor is going after DocuSign, too.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

November 1, 2021

4 Min Read

Document productivity software vendor Nitro is disrupting Adobe’s hold on the market.

The company’s growth strategy includes expanding its channel — and is looking to attract its rival’s partners.


Nitro’s Simon Taylor

“For a long time Adobe was heavily channel-dependent,” said Simon Taylor,VP  of global channel and alliances at Nitro. “They squeeze the margins very tightly now. So a lot of those partners have been upset about the framework that they operate, which we’ve been taking advantage of.”

Taylor said partners are attracted to both Nitro’s price points, and licensing structure.

“We are a very different price points compared to Adobe, and DocuSign,” he said. “Also, we offer unlimited signing. Adobe and DocuSign have a lot of hidden strategy around the way that they license. This catches customers out, and their licensing goes out of control fairly rapidly. So, we can come along with a much more cost optimised framework.”

This is important coming out of COVID-19, he said, with businesses trying to remove unnecessary spending from the organisation.

“We can significantly reduce costs on licensing compared to some of the other big players and that’s what’s attractive to resellers.

“Not only do they earn more money with us, they know we’re disruptive. So it becomes a very interesting conversation when a customer’s frustrated with Adobe. [This could be] because the licensing doubled, or they’ve not got the value, and the partner’s only getting two or three points. Then we give them somewhere between 15 and 40 points. So they’re making a lot more money with us. We’re disruptive. And we’re addressing the customer needs head on in terms of cost efficiencies.”

Accelerated Growth

The Australian-headquartered company was founded 15 years ago as an alternative to Adobe Acrobat. In recent years Nitro has been looking to expand into a full platform for driving digital transformation. It has created a platform that’s cloud-based, incorporates analytics, and has an integrated philosophy around document productivity. Pre-IPO in 2019 it was selling to almost 60% of the Fortune 500, said Taylor.

“Going public meant we could raise a lot of capital so we’ve accelerated our growth as a business. Year-on-year for the last two or three years we’ve been growing at 50% rate. It’s fantastic growth,” Taylor added.

Taylor acknowledges that Nitro isn’t as well-known as its rival. However, “a lot of people do know Nitro extremely well, particularly in that Adobe world. It’s just because we’re the main alternative to somebody using a standard Adobe technology suite.”

Taylor says the company’s goal is “to become the vendor of choice in digital transformation associated with document productivity. He stressed this is done in a way that is integrated and automated, “so it’s a very slightly different story to Adobe … from a licencing point of view. Their DC [Document Cloud] philosophy is very much around consolidate licencing. Same with Creative Cloud.”

Squaring Up to Docusign

Elsewhere, Nitro is also starting to compete head-on with DocuSign, says Taylor.

“That’s a bit different because DocuSign is obviously the market leader in in the signing world. But there are a number of things they don’t do well. They don’t do document creation or document generation very well. They don’t automate outside of their own signing philosophy.

“So when you look at cross functionally governance, compliance – particularly industries like health care or local government – it’s really interesting to see the opportunity that sits in creating that automation approach. We integrate really well with technologies like Microsoft Power Automate, things that create that orchestration and around next generation, cross functional workflow in organisations.”

Alongside its channel recruitment plans, Nitro is planning an awareness drive within the industry. Taylor references the firm’s acquisition in July of PDFpen, a suite of PDF productivity applications for Apple products.

“That created a lot of noise and being a public company we have to respond to investors as well. Hence the reason why we’re driving more aggressively the brand and awareness around what we do.”

Nitro has global relationships with distributors including SYNNEX-Tech Data, plus local distribution partners. It also partners with the like of SHI, Insight and SoftwareONE, alongside second tier resellers.

As a business, the company is “55%-60% channel,” said Taylor. “That’s based purely on revenue. But if I looked at everything the channel influences, our overall business is probably near 80%. Our goal is to be 100% channel-first,” he added.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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