No-Code App Vendor Betty Blocks Launches U.S. Channel Partner ProgramNo-Code App Vendor Betty Blocks Launches U.S. Channel Partner Program
Requests from customers in the U.S. inspired the Netherlands-based company to make the move.
December 20, 2019
European-based no-code application development platform vendor, Betty Blocks, is expanding its channel footprint to the United States for the first time by starting up a new channel program that aims to directly serve its U.S.-based customers.
Betty Blocks’ Tom Oudhuis
The move is being made due to customer demand, Tom Oudhuis, vice president of channel sales for Betty Blocks, told Channel Futures. The company, which is based in the Netherlands, already has a small sales office in New York City, but more and more customers have been asking for a full-fledged sales and support network here so they can better support their adoption of the no-code platform, he said. Betty Blocks already has a partner program in Europe.
Under the new U.S.-based program, partners will be able to receive sales support, presales support, maintenance, hosting and security from Betty Blocks, as well as marketing and sales training, and access to new markets and customers. Partners who are ranked higher within the partner program will be eligible to receive additional marketing, sales, support and account management services, according to the company.
“We have a whole process to take away hurdles for partners,” he said. “We’re gaining more and more customers and what these customers are asking us for is to deliver our no-code services through partners in the U.S.”
Under the program, Betty Blocks will aim to partner with systems integrators that can provide consulting to customers as well as help with the development of applications on the Betty Blocks platform, according to Oudhuis. “We want to sit next to the client, so we want to work with partners who can work with clients onsite.”
What differentiates the Betty Blocks application development platform from competitors including Mendix, Appian, Progress Software and others is that Betty Blocks is a no-code platform, rather than just a low-code platform, he said. That means that business employees who need applications but are not trained developers can use it to create simple to complex applications using the platform’s drag and drop cloud-based web portal. So-called nonprofessional citizen developers are the prime target audience for Betty Blocks.
The platform is completely hosted in the cloud, including the applications that the citizen developers build, said Oudhuis. It is also available for on-premises use if desired. In addition, professional developers can use it and make code changes using “escape hatches” that are built into the application for more control, he said.
Fizor’s Joost Engel
Joost Engel, the global managing director for Fizor, a Netherlands-based business consultancy that is a Betty Blocks partner in Europe, said his company has gained valuable help and skills by working with the company’s partner program in Europe.
“They’ve really brought us up to speed with sales workshops, as well as teaching about what their technology is all about and where it fits in within the IT landscape of our clients,” said Engel. “They also give marketing help about optimizing our website for SEO and show us what kinds of marketing pitches work.”
Betty Blocks also has a favorable licensing structure compared…
…to competitors and has shown them how to work to define their customers’ needs so they can respond to them more directly, he said. “If we do an event, they team up with us. With Betty Blocks, it’s a true partnership.”
Gartner’s Jason Wong
Jason Wong, an analyst with Gartner, said that Betty Blocks’ move to expand its business in the U.S. makes sense because it is the largest global market for citizen developers and no-code and low-code tools.
“As a smaller vendor they also need to leverage channel partners to penetrate a large market like this so it makes sense that they would use this approach to scale their growth, rather than just build direct sales efforts,” he said.
There are plenty of competitors here, said Wong, but there is also plenty of demand and growth opportunities in the U.S and around the world.
“We are just in the early phases of citizen development adoption and many organizations are hungry for the type of enablement and governance programs that Betty Blocks is promoting in their partner programs,” he said. “Their main competitors will come from incumbent large enterprise software providers that offer low-code development, like Microsoft, Salesforce and ServiceNow, but Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of large enterprises will be using at least four low-code development tools for both IT application development and citizen development initiatives.”
To be successful, Betty Blocks will need to differentiate their technology in terms of ease of use and range of capabilities as well as its licensing model, said Wong.
“Cost is the top concern for most companies adopting low-code development when the number of apps and end-users increase, or when the use case changes, such as building apps targeting external users versus internal employees,” he said. “Optimizing licensing is an ongoing effort for all these vendors and will become incredibly important when they sell through channel partners to make sure it aligns to their business models as well.”
The company will have to build an ecosystem of partners that drive more value back into the platform and the community of customers and partners to be successful, added Wong.
“Salesforce’s Trailhead and AppExchange are the exemplars of this, and many low-code vendors are trying to emulate this model,” he said. “Citizen development in particular is about ongoing training and learning for nonprofessional developers, while making it fun, accessible and helping them succeed in their careers — which are not in IT. Partner programs that help organizations teach their employees these skills, rather than just build the apps for them, will drive success for low-code vendors.”
The cloud-based Betty Blocks platform is available worldwide. The company also has offices in Belgium, the U.K. and South Africa.
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