If there's one thing I've learned after more than 20 years of covering the technology distribution and services channel, it's that the word "partner" means very different things depending on the company.
I've been in communication with many of the cloud services and applications providers, as I work to highlight solution providers, VARs and systems integrators that are helping businesses of all sizes transition to the cloud. (Got any great leads? I would love them.)
Last week, I spoke with a services company aligned as a partner with Clearvale by BroadVision, which provides a social enterprise collaboration platform delivered in the cloud.
That company, i2i benefits, is a corporate benefits consulting and services company that uses Clearvale to interact with its clients, essentially to build communities where employees can access information about their plans, said Dan Maass, partner and cofounder of the Redwood City, Calif.-based company. The platform is invaluable for meeting documentation and auditing requirements, he told me when we spoke about the relationship last week.
Here's what Maass had to say in more detail as part of an official statement:
With Clearvale, our team can easily communicate and securely shape information in personalized communities on the network, which is imperative to building and maintaining partnerships with our clients. ... Now, access to plan information, blogs on the latest legislative changes, company calendar, business administrative documents, and direct links to all carriers and vendors are in a centralized location for each individual client."
Moreover, the service has helped i2i benefits win more clients.
Do those customers need to know that Clearvale's platform is behind i2i benefits' services or that i2i is a Clearvale "partner"? Not really, all they need to know is that it's easier to access essential human resources and benefits information they need.
Is i2i a VAR or traditional integrator? Not really. But technically speaking, i2i is a "Next-Gen Partner" because it has turned to the cloud to provide a valuable service, in turn, for its own clients. It's another reminder that oftentimes, the best technology solutions are invisible to the ultimate end user, and that the word partner has many different definitions.