Web 2.0 Player OutSystems Courts Channel

European vendor launches its first channel program in the U.S. seeking partners using the Agile software development platform.

November 3, 2008

D.H. Kass

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OutSystems, a privately-held, Web 2.0 application developer based in Portugal, is opening a new channel program in the U.S. for partners building on the collaborative Agile software development platform.

The company, founded in 2001 and funded in three stages with about $7 million in investment capital, is simultaneously launching a channel partner effort in Europe, where it works with about 50 partners. OutSystems, which hopes to attract 10 new partners in the next year to its U.S. channel program, has gained recognition from market watchers such as the Gartner Group for its innovative application development.

“We provide a platform designed to bring together all the necessary development, integration and management tools required to build a Web 2.0 application,” said Mike Jones, OutSystems vice president of worldwide marketing.

OutSystems has created a set of customizable, ready-to-use web business applications, based on the Agile development platform and aimed at meeting its customers’ specific market needs. At this point, the company’s application development is tilted toward solutions for the biotech and energy markets. It counts pharmaceutical heavyweight Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. among its customers.

“Most of our customers have a [web-based application] project that they haven’t been able to deliver successfully,” Jones said. With the Agile platform as our backbone, we focus from a narrow perspective on delivering web applications on time and within budget.”

In Europe, about 30 companies have participated in a beta launch of the channel program. Thus far, eight have signed on with the remainder expected to follow suit. “Partners hadn’t been authorized to resell the platform, but we realized a year ago that we needed to formalize a channel program,” Jones said. “A lot of partners have matured to the point where they can execute on their own.”

The developer has yet to sign a U.S. partner to the channel program. Jones said it is seeking system integrators that “deliver software solutions for their partners.”

OutSystems generates 90 percent of its annual sales in Europe but believes that its future growth will be fueled in the U.S., Jones said. Although he declined to reveal OutSystems’ sales, he said that the company has grown at a 30 percent compounded annual growth rate since 2001 and has nearly doubled its customer base in the past 18 months. Recent growth has come mostly from working with system integrators, Jones said.

The partner program offers two different levels of participation—OutPartners and Certified OutPartner. Typically, an OutPartner is a small operation that consults with its clients and has “seen some success with our platform,” Jones said. OutPartners possess sales skills but are not heavy on application development skills, he said. OutPartners can use and resell OutSystems software and services.

Higher level Certified Outpartners “make a larger investment in people and resources,” Jones said. “They deliver Web-based applications with our methodology and on our platform. We are their de-facto standard.” Certified OutPartners resell the complete line of OutSystems' software and services.

One OutSystems partner praised the company’s go-to-market strategy. "OutSystems Agile Platform allows us to guarantee the fast delivery of new solutions that support our clients' businesses with reduced costs of implementation and maintenance," said Jorge Pereira, vice president of sales at Infosistema, a software engineering and IT consulting firm.  

Both levels of channel partner have access to the company’s primary resource, its web-based partner portal. Jones said that OutSystems built the partner portal to “make as much of the program as possible self-service.” OutSystems also provides partners with training and certification, technical support, project sizing and delivery services, pre-sales assistance, demand generation and marketing services.

TAGS: developer,software,Web 2.0,Agile programming,OutSystems

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