Extending Technology with OEM Partners
*This is a guest blog by SeeUnity CEO and Co-founder, Dan Anderson.
Where SeeUnity Started
Over a decade ago, before we founded SeeUnity, our vision was to create a next generation integration product that we could license to other technology companies that added value to their organization. Something that they could utilize to integrate and extend their product offerings. We started to pursue this vision of building software that could be part of an OEM partnership; however, after further investigation we discovered that to start that way would be counterproductive because we’d be too far removed from the customers. Starting away from the customers wouldn’t give us the advantage of having direct feedback to build powerful software that would be useful to end users and technology partners. Therefore, we founded SeeUnity and began by developing and selling customer centric products and solutions that helped with the integration of ECM solutions with external applications like Microsoft SharePoint. Over the years, the ECM market has matured and changed, and that allowed us to find ways to enter new markets. Now that we have established ourselves, our goals have expanded back to our original vision for how we’d like to do business.
While we still want to remain close to customers and build those relationships, we have also found value in our technology partnerships. We have quickly transitioned in these past few years from allowing other technology companies to resell SeeUnity products, to actually developing an OEM partner program. This way, we can focus on what we do best, the development of integration products, while also maintaining relationships with those who use SeeUnity products.
A symbiotic relationship
OEM partnerships are an opportunity for us to extend our reach into new markets. With resellers and other technology partnerships, we are able to maintain a level of control over things like the sales cycle and customer communications. In the OEM world, there are some things you sacrifice. Fortunately for us, we are aware of that, and we know what we are looking for in terms of an OEM partnership. It boils down to adding value on all sides. We need to make sure that our products and services are complementary and add value to our respective customers and partners. Ultimately, the true goal with any OEM situation is to expand and grow into new markets and add value to all parties.
A good example of this is our place in the legal market. Though we didn’t begin here, we have been able to get into the market through partnerships and learn about the different solutions used within the market. Not only are law firms using document management solutions like NetDocuments, eDOCS, and iManage, but they are using things like case management solutions, CRM, collaboration, and IP management. As we are developing relationships in the market, we are seeing new sides of the coin, and we are creating new solutions for legal that will help them bring things together through the use of our integration products. Not only that, but our long-standing customers benefit from our newly acquired expertise in emerging technologies and we can help them integrate these new technologies within their firms.
The fear of losing control
As a CEO, there are some fears associated with OEM-ing your technology. I am a strong believer in maintaining the quality of the product, aiding the sales cycle, and providing exceptional support and customer service. As you let other people use and sell your technology, you have to learn how to let go a bit. This is why it is so important that you pick the right partnerships. With us, culture plays a role in whether we choose to partner with another organization. We want to make sure we can bring our solutions together to best help a customer in need while maintaining a good relationship both with our customers and the partner. Because of the nature of an OEM partnership, you become removed from the sales and customer process. Without good partners that are willing to be open, communicative, and help the OEM company understand the use cases and needs of the customers you can lose sight of the end goals. This is why synergy and common goals are important in these kinds of partnerships. There is also an element of trust in these sorts of partnerships. I believe it is important that these partners are going to work with us to accomplish that common goal, and that we can trust them to sell the technology.
Our goals moving forward
As always, we are going to continue to grow our connectors list to allow for more integrations within various types of markets. We are excited to be introduced into new markets and find ways to offer best in class solutions. Our goal is to advance our growth across many markets and develop products and technology to best integrate systems together. If you’re interested in becoming an OEM partner, please inquire by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.