Data analytics vendor Qlik’s acquisition of Talend will make partners feel like a “kid in a candy store” as it consolidates the two partner programs across Asia Pacific (APAC).
According to Qlik's APAC vice president and head of channels and alliances Jeremy Sim, partners are finding the integration process across the two vendors’ programs “very exciting” as they “go out and sell something new”.
Sim is now putting APAC partners through their paces as he attempts to enable Qlik’s 180 APAC partners to drive growth across both Qlik and Talend and bring their respective channel initiatives together.
“Ultimately, at the end of it, we have a very collaborative model,” Sim said. “In order to drive the revenue and the business, I need partners who are enabled and motivated.”
“We talked about acquiring new partners.. I wouldn’t say so much that it’s a priority or it’s a KPI. We welcome more partners, but we are also very selective.”
"We invest in them and we want them to invest in us. It’s a long-term relationship covering how we train the partner, enable them and how we grow together. That’s a long process.”
Sim first joined Qlik from SAS eight years ago and has risen through the ranks of leading industry solutions and manufacturing to becoming channel chief in 2019.
Based in Singapore, Sim oversees 50 partners in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) and over a hundred in ASEAN, with more than 50 per cent of Qlik’s revenue going through the channel.
As well as channel partners, Qlik also has technology alliances with the likes of Snowflake, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
It is partly due to these alliances, the ongoing shift to the cloud and the Talend acquisition that Sim is so heavily focused on partner enablement and training.
“We do a lot of enablement: pre-sales and sales,” he explained. “We keep [partners] up to date with technology and the pricing and sales plays. But what differentiates us is that we are very hands-on. We expect our partners, especially the new ones, to be trained in how to deliver the value proposition for Qlik, both from a sales and technical perspective.”
Qlik then expects partners to pitch back to them in a mock environment, giving them feedback and ensuring that the training has fully sunk in. This is especially important for “experienced” partners tasked with selling a new product.
“Most of my top partners, I run a business plan with them,” Sim said. “We set revenue goals and create a go-to-market strategy for them to execute. We look at partners quarterly targets and we give them incentives to beat them. Some of these incentives are very specific to APAC.”
‘More than a fancy chart’
As well as training, Qlik’s partners are expected to be much more transparent with their sales and deliveries in 2023.
In Sim’s words, Qlik wants “partners to be accountable and to fully be part of [its] business”.
“For that, there has to be accountability, linearity and accuracy of their forecasts,” he added. “We are still a billion-dollar business but now it’s about the market share and where we can gain. A lot of our successful partners have multiple vendor partnerships, so it’s on my team to motivate them to invest with Qlik and reach their revenue goals.”
Part of 2023’s challenge is delivering on subscription and consumption-based business models, which, while well-established in A/NZ, are varied across ASEAN.
“We are getting a lot of traction across the likes of AWS, Microsoft, Snowflake and Databricks. There are more and more partners in these areas that are keen to work with us and extend their own value proposition,” Sim said. “Other partners are seeing where the market is going in terms of cloud and are starting their relationships with the cloud vendors.”
In addition, partners have a duty to demonstrate the true value of Qlik’s analytics products to the client and not just show “a fancy chart”.
“It’s about understanding the industry landscape and how a solution solves a problem,” explained Sim. “Use cases now need to be able to show that.”
Sim acknowledges that the APAC IT market has become more conservative in 2023 following a huge upsurge in customer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic but remains confident in partners’ potential success.
“Partners are a bit more apprehensive about this year, but there is business out there,” he added. “It’s about finding the right opportunities and letting them know that Qlik is the vendor of choice to make them profitable and successful.”