Business intelligence firm Business Objects is promoting the vertical nature of its VARs in 2006, through marketing and demand generation, as the company looks to advance its vertical appeal in the midmarket.
The vendor experienced significant growth from indirect channels in 2005, founded on recruitment and marketing efforts in the midmarket—license revenues through VARs rose 10 percent in 2005 to $252 million, accounting for 49 percent of overall revenue. In 2006 executives aim to continue the trend with a focus on the vertical nature of its VARs, a key to midmarket growth, said Juliette Sultan, Business Objects’ vice president of Americas marketing.
“When you sell business intelligence, you are moving from [generic reporting tools] and getting into management and dashboarding and specifics attached to sales or marketing or finance,” Sultan said. “You must make it relevant; you must understand the industry flavor.
“Many VARs already have a vertical niche, and we’ve provided them the business intelligence technology and left it to them to position [themselves],” she said. “[In 2006] we will align them with the industry verticals we have—financial, health care, retail, consumer products and goods, manufacturing and public sector—and provide more marketing support.”
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Business Objects will deliver, built around specific verticals, marketing tools, such as advertising, brand awareness at industry trade shows and “seminars-in-a-box,” which guide VARs in hosting live seminars or online Webinars on business processes. Verticals include industries, functions and even departments, such as legal or finance within organizations, Sultan said.
The company also aims to improve communication of partner benefits in 2006, as some have said they remain in the dark about all that is available to them from the vendor, she said.
In 2005 Business Objects added 60 new solution provider partners and more than 120 new OEM and applications service providers.
In addition, the company introduced several new products aimed at the SMB (small and midsize business) and midsize markets, including Crystal Reports Server, which allows SMBs to create, manage and deliver reports over the Web. The application allows partners to deploy BI to small customers or to one business area at a time.