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Cross-pollinate for success

17 Jun 2013

Teaming up with other industries and carving out a niche reselling cloud applications offers IT resellers the chance to further grow their business according to GeoOp’s Leanne Graham.

She tells Heather Wright why, and how.

You may already think outside the square, but now’s the time to start looking ‘outside the silo’ and thinking cross-pollination to improve your business.

That’s the message from Leanne Graham, chief executive of online mobile workforce job management company, GeoOp.

Graham, who has been in the software business for about 25 years and was previously the country manager for online accounting software provider Xero, says the old world of business was one of silos of business channels, such as the technology reseller channel, fighting for business.

The new world, she maintains, is about cross-pollinating, or one channel teaming up with another to strengthen both.

She cites the example of resellers and accountants working together to get customers into cloud services.

Accountants are keen to promote services like Xero to their customers – not because they want to move into selling technology, but because of the benefits it offers accountants and their clients, such as enabling the accountant to become a virtual CFO, capable not only of dealing with the past finances, but with the now and future as well.

“If IT resellers can engage with the accountants and provide advice on the right type of devices customers should be using, data structure, security structure, backup options and other cloud offerings such as Google Apps, GeoOp, Office 365, CRM, online security, they’re taking a huge weight off the accountants shoulders, providing value for themselves, value for the accountant and value for the end customer.”

It’s an example close to Graham’s heart, with GeoOp working on expanding its channel – currently primarily accountants and bookkeepers – to include IT resellers, telco dealers and those handling GPS equipment.

The cloud-based, mobile accessible offering includes real- time job sheets, GPS tracking, the ability for field staff to add files, photos and notes while on the road, messaging and a recurring job feature.

The software integrates with other offerings, such as Xero.

Graham says the ultimate goal is that tradespeople and field workers of all types – including technology resellers – throw away their clipboard and rely instead on their smartphone.

The company is targeting micro and small to medium businesses.

“The IT reseller is the perfect client for GeoOp,” Graham says. Resellers electing to sell the product receive the software to use in their own business.

She says they will also ‘make margins far higher than any hardware kit’ and can wrap technology around the offering.

“You won’t be selling a server but can sell the mobile clients such as iPads. Plus, because it’s subscription based you’ve got the ongoing anuity.”

Customers taking on GeoOp for job management often also want other cloud offerings, opening the doors for ‘a new type of reseller’.

“We’re seeing resellers forming who are wrapping cloud and mobile apps together to become cloud resellers of cloud apps.”

Graham says resellers are trying to work out ways to add product and services that will bring good margins and counter the decline of back office hardware sales.

The company hopes to have 200 resellers signed over the next 12 months. It currently has 30 – predominantly accounting and bookkeeping – partners, with another 80 going through training.

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