Software developer Secure Interactive has signed a strategic partnership with Interpath to jointly take its Web-based content management tools to market via ASP.
Interpath will host and manage the application, named Modifi, which enables Web sites, intranets and extranets to be updated by people with little technical skills via a Web browser. "Our role is to open up the market for them, as we are hosting and supporting the application," said Mark Franklin, CEO of Interpath.
The product allows Web content to be easily managed by non-technical staff, freeing up IT departments from content concerns. "IT departments can then get on with what they are there for, network and desktop support, rather than looking at the Web site," said Christopher Plowman, CEO of Secure Interactive.
Secure Interactive began selling its software direct, but is slowly moving to a channel model. Plowman is currently being consulted by PricewaterhouseCoopers to form a channel strategy. The company has already appointed Balanced IT as an integration partner and Interpath as its first ASP partner. Secure Interactive is also in discussions with Telstra, which is interested in bundling the software for its SME customers.
Plowman is also considering an unusual new channel partner: the advertising agency. He is already in discussions with prominent advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi about reselling the tools to its clients.
"Companies are going back to the traditional media because they know their agency will be dedicated to protecting their brand," he said. "These agencies have no technical skills, but they can sell the tools that make the technical skills unnecessary."
Plowman said businesses are disgruntled about the exorbitant fees being charged for the development and management of Web sites by large development houses like XT3 and Zivo, and channel partners will reap the rewards when selling solutions that allow businesses to manage the sites themselves.
"It allows our partners to build greater client retention, simply because the product decreases the frustration people feel when dealing with technology," he said. "It entices them to come back and request new components as they are intrigued as to what they can achieve knowing the tools are easy to use."
Interpath and Secure Interactive will now hold a series of breakfasts with customers of both companies to promote the hosted offer. The two companies are also in discussions as to who will manage the customer relationship.
"We have been in discussions about how customers will get the most benefit," said Franklin. "That is what determines how they will pay. We are trying not to be too prescriptive -- something ASPs are all too often guilty of. We want to be flexible. But in most cases, I'd say we will keep the customer relationship because we are the most logical company to have that relationship. They provide the solution, we will provide the delivery."Photograph: Mark Franklin, Interpath CEO