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'7 Minutes' With Silwood Technology Technical Director Nick Porter

Who knows what metadata lurks in that ERP or CRM system, just waiting to draw five-figure fines ...

Lorna Garey

October 26, 2017

5 Min Read
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**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**

Got customers who are – or should be – worried about GDPR? U.K.-based Silwood Technology offers metadata discovery software, called Safyr, that finds personal data buried deep in ERP and CRM systems. That’s critical for, among other things, GDPR compliance. Of course, avoiding fines is not the only application: data warehousing, governance, classification and migration projects all depend on being able to accurately locate and analyze specific data types.

Safyr provides insights into enterprise ERP or CRM systems, including those from SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft, no matter how large, complex or customized.

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Silwood’s Nick Porter

The company is seeking new partners in Europe and the United States, and technical director Nick Porter says GDPR is a driver for ISVs and resellers to take a look at the software. However, the benefits for customers go beyond compliance efforts. Silwood says customers commonly report productivity gains of 90 percent when compared with traditional discovery and modeling methods, which include relying on external consultants, templates and manual hunting and pecking. The company has about 500 large-enterprise customers, including Boeing, BP and P&G.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?

Nick Porter: Customers value the ability to accelerate delivery of their data and information management projects, such as data governance, data warehouse, data migration and master data. This is thanks to Safyr’s ability to let their data professionals see and use, for the first time, all of the details of the underlying data model of their ERP and CRM packages in a quick and sensible way. Safyr extracts the metadata from these systems as implemented, including their customizations, and gives the user a unique view of that metadata, without the need to be a technical application specialist. This in turn speeds up data discovery and source data analysis phases for these projects, which no other technology can do as effectively.

CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?

NP: Our channel program provides a number of ways for partners to work with us, whether they are an OEM, reseller, referral, consulting or technical partners. We do not have a tiered system within our channel program, as we want to make it as easy and straightforward for all partners to work with us and realize value from the partnership.

We welcome different types of organizations from systems integrators and information management software solutions providers to specialist boutique firms as partners. We do not charge a partnership fee or require partners to pay to join, as we believe that the benefits of working together should deliver sufficient mutual value.

We provide free sales and technical training to our partners and also regularly work with them on joint marketing campaigns and events.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

NP: Roughly 85 percent of Silwood revenue is via our channel partners. We currently have 30 partners of different types. While some OEM and referral arrangements may differ, a reseller partner will typically receive a discount of 35 percent off the suggested retail price for Safyr. This includes …

… software license and support and maintenance fees.

CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?

NP: As far as we are aware there are no software products which compete on a feature/function basis with Safyr. However, if we had to choose, our biggest competitor is often the status quo. These are the manual methods for doing data discovery which include looking at documentation, asking technical specialists or hiring consultants, expecting other software vendor staff to know the data model, searching the internet or using guesswork.

Some vendors have templates, which can help, but those may not reflect the specific business requirement and could even be based on a different version of the ERP or CRM so will not include any customized tables or fields. Safyr automates those largely manual tasks of locating data in ERP/CRM applications, by knowing which tables contain the information they are trying to connect to.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

NP: We will continue to add interfaces to more packages, as our customer and partner communities require them. For example, we believe cloud-based applications such as Workday, SuccessFactors and NetSuite, which replace or work alongside the traditional on-premise[s] packages, will present similar problems in terms of metadata discovery. We are already seeing growing demand for interfaces to those types of packages from our customers and partners.

In addition, we will continue to develop deeper insight into the metadata in the packages we already support. For example, we are working to deliver greater value to customers seeking to understand more about SAP BW and its connectivity with SAP ERP.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?

NP: We are constantly reviewing our channel strategy and how we recruit and support partners. Our channel has always been a fundamental component of Safyr’s continuing success, so it is our intention to continue to develop our program so that new and existing partners alike can use Safyr to meet new information and data management challenges, such as GDPR, as they arise.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

NP: What is the market for Safyr? Safyr is often described by analysts as a “well-kept secret.” Potential partners might be surprised to learn that this software product is used by some of the world’s largest companies – Boeing, BP, RS Components and hundreds more – to help them deliver projects more quickly and effectively, and by doing so also improves the use of application data within their organizations.

The market for Safyr is very large and still presents a huge opportunity, though. Any organization that is a customer and user of ERP and CRM packages from SAP, Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft is a potential target for the software.

We can give partners a unique selling advantage, helping them to sell more of their own software or services, by being able to deliver against companies that are still trying to solve the problem Safyr addresses by using old, expensive, manual and often inaccurate methods.

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