Tigerpaw Gets Serious about IT Reseller Customers
A new version of the company’s PSA offering and new partner programs for “datacom” VARs were highlighted at Tigerpaw’s first user conference in 26 years.
Tigerpaw Software, a 26-year-old company providing PSA (professional services automation) software, held its first user conference in early October in Dallas. While a long way from the company’s Bellevue, Neb., home, several hundred users made the trek to Texas.
I sat down with James Foxall, appointed president of the company in April this year, taking over for his father, Dave, the company’s founder, who joined our conversation. My first question, not surprisingly, was why it took 26 years for Tigerpaw to have a user conference.
“We were too busy and too cheap to do it before,” answered Dave Foxall, laughing. “But early on we focused on the telecom market, and had user meetings at the big national conferences. Three years ago, we decided to add much more weight to our datacom practice and invest in more staff to make that happen. We were lucky to get a good response from exhibitors to help us make this first conference a reality.”
Tigerpaw currently has about 28,000 customers, but only a bit more than 3,000 are exclusively datacom service providers. “The datacom people have much more involved needs than telecom,” said Dave Foxall. “We were late to the datacom area, and we needed to catch up.”
“Over the last few years, we’ve been signing up about the same percentage of telecom and datacom VARs,” noted James Foxall. “Since voice and data are converging, resellers can’t stay on just one side of the fence.”
The conference was also the debut of Tigerpaw Softare Version X1. James Foxall explained the new features and channel sales programs: “Customers helped us with this upgrade by telling us exactly what they wanted,” he said. “High on the list was a back button, with history. That was tough, but our user council said they really wanted that. But if you ask most users, their favorite thing is the new tabbed interface.”
While Tigerpaw is generally ranked third in the PSA market behind ConnectWise and AutoTask, James Foxall believes his company provides a much more complete product. The average client buys between 10 and 30 seats, but there are some clients with as few as one seat, and as many as 200. “Our advanced features, like workflow, really make sense for larger companies with more seats and the resources to ramp up use of the software,” he said.
The company’s Total Care Assurance program, a new revenue model, substitutes a monthly or yearly fee of 20 percent of the list cost of the products with separate charges for upgrades, training, and support. This eliminates big capital expenses at upgrade times, and allows Tigerpaw to roll out improvements to customers as soon as they are available.
Tigerpaw offers two ways for resellers to benefit from recommending or selling Tigerpaw software to their own clients. First, the Referral Affiliate Program offers compensation for “hot leads” when those companies buy direct from Tigerpaw. The new Channel Partner Program requires much more commitment, “since our sales cycle is often six months or more,” said James Foxall.
“We’ve tried lots of programs over the years,” continued James Foxall, “and we think this two-tiered system will work best. Some resellers, like an Australian dealer, actually do first-line support, which we usually provide.”
Referral Affiliate members work with their Tigerpaw account manager to register their leads. Channel partners receive access to marketing, sales, training, and best practice information developed over the years by Tigerpaw.
Both father and son are bullish about future growth. “Only about 10 percent of IT resellers are automated,” said James Foxall. “We see tremendous growth in this area, and events like our user conference will give us a much higher profile and better market visibility.”