Those Darn Sirens:

8 Points to Help You Resist the Sirens’ Song of Building Your Own Portal

The pace of transition to a SaaS solutions market is truly a phenomenon. IDC predicts that by 2018, at least half of IT spending will be Cloud-based, reaching 60% of all IT infrastructure, and 60–70% of all Software, Services, and Technology Spending by 2020. However, despite that growth and the increasing understanding of the “snap in and go” nature of SaaS solutions, human nature and the powerful lull of the Sirens’ Song of Building Your Own Portal continues to tempt an unfortunate number of companies – until it’s too late. Like most, at some point into the project, realize the resources for a build-it-yourself portal are beyond what anyone anticipated, and their project is stalling for lack of funding and bandwidth. If you’re tempted by having your IT team cobble together a new Partner Portal - beware! Here are eight lessons from others that BYOP (Building Your Own Portal) is a sirens’ song and not what you think it is.

  1. Time to market

  2. For most companies, the average time to build a homegrown Portal is 6 to 12 months. Your Partner Portal is the front door of your Partner relationships. If it isn’t helping you optimize your Partners’ performance, it's costing you and your Partners money, and 6 to 12 months is a business lifetime. Portal providers have already mapped out best practices with thousands of other companies, and know what world-class, enterprise-grade Partner Portal solutions need to bring to the table to give your Partners a great experience and your business a competitive edge. SaaS solutions can be up and running in just a few months – Impartner PRM in as few as 15 days.

  3. Loss of focus for your IT team

  4. Your IT team is busy keeping your company secure and maintaining business-critical services. Why would you focus your IT resources on building bespoke software when turn-key technology already exists that can be launched quickly, and can you keep it up to date in the future? With just 100 Partners and 5 sales team members, it would require one full-time employee to update and manage a PRM solution. What happens when you get to 1,000 Partners? SaaS vendors carry this scalability burden.

  5. Level of effort

  6. Out-of-the-box PRM systems are designed to plug into your existing CRM and light up with the data and information both you and your Partners are looking for. All the workflows are already integrated for every field. What are you gaining by doing this work yourself? Out-of-the-box solutions have already done the integration work and you don’t have to worry about expensive configuration errors. You didn’t custom build your CRM, why would you custom build your PRM?

  7. Lack of a roadmap for the future

  8. PRM solutions are constantly evolving. If you create your own Portal, whose technology roadmap are you on? Who will ensure that your Portal doesn’t become obsolete? Who will be responsive if security problems are found?

  9. Ongoing maintenance

  10. PRM solutions are built to integrate with CRM solutions. CRM solutions are also constantly updating – their data fields, their APIs, their features and functions – and they require that your PRM is constantly digitally “rewired” to ensure the systems are connecting and sharing data properly. Who in your organization will have the bandwidth to ensure the integration stays current?

  11. Infrastructure costs

  12. Portals need infrastructure – servers, security, configuration, redundancy, and availability. Most companies have hundreds or even thousands of partners around the world; do you have the in-house infrastructure to build, host, and support an enterprise-class Portal? Most Partner Portal solutions are SaaS, or cloud-hosted, and come with the infrastructure built in, so not only can you have your Portal up and running more quickly, you’ll know the front end of your new Portal is supported by a back end that is designed specifically to meet your partners’ needs.

  13. Initial creation costs

  14. What to do? When the costs start piling up, nine times out of 10 an organization will begin to “pare back” the feature set, leaving you with a rudimentary FTP site without the differentiating, revenue-building features you and your Partners so badly need. Turnkey SaaS solutions have already done the development work up front, so you are not paying the tech burden of custom making a solution that will cost you many times more for a feature set that’s typically less robust. If you sell indirect, between 80 and 100 percent of your revenue goes through the channel. While BYOP is tempting, it’s not worth the execution time, the risk of poor integration, the loss of short term and long-term focus for IT teams.

  15. Lack of channel expertise

  16. CRM companies (or your IT department) may know a lot about web development and SaaS architecture. They may be experts at setting up a website using an open source tool like WordPress or Drupal. But there's so much more to a Partner Portal than just the website. You need to engage with a company who can offer proven strategies for structuring an effective channel program, and then echo those in a Partner Portal. The value a true PRM company brings is less about the web development and much more about implementing best practices to accelerate your indirect sales.

Take a Demo of Impartner’s SaaS PRM tool that can have you up and running with a complete, enterprise-class Partner Portal as few as 15 days. View our complete Infographic for an in-depth look on how to resist the temptation of building your own portal.

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