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11/5/2010
02:18 PM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
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Network Automation's Channel Sales Skyrocket

Small businesses: Imagine having a robot that does certain jobs for you. Maybe it handles your payroll every other Friday. Or perhaps it does automatic backups, job scheduling, or event log monitoring. You don't have to pay it a salary, and you don't have to give it annual performance reviews.

Small businesses: Imagine having a robot that does certain jobs for you. Maybe it handles your payroll every other Friday. Or perhaps it does automatic backups, job scheduling, or event log monitoring. You don't have to pay it a salary, and you don't have to give it annual performance reviews.OK, so there's not exactly a robot like this that you can buy (at least not that I know of). But there is something that's pretty close. It's called process automation software, and apparently some of you have already discovered how useful it can be in freeing up your time to do other things--things like creating marketing campaigns, dreaming up new products and services, and running your business.

Network Automation, a Los Angeles-based company that provides this kind of software, is seeing its popularity soar. More and more channel players have expressed an interest in adding process automation products to their line cards, and, as a result, the company's channel partner base increased by 50% in the third quarter of 2010.

"The process automaton space is gaining a lot of momentum," says Gary Bishop, chief strategy officer at Network Automation. "The trend is being fueled by a long list of demand points. For one thing, companies today want and need to do more with less. They're also looking to tie together their front and back offices, and they're using technology to do all of this."

At its inception in 2004, Network Automation sold exclusively direct. Today, about one-third of the company's sales are through the channel, and Bishop expects that number to hit 50% sometime next year. "What we're offering is general-purpose automation technology," he says. "Many of our channel partners are highly specialized. They're taking our software and adapting it for specific verticals such as financial services, healthcare, and retail."

In September, Network Automation welcomed Dawn Willis as its new U.S. channel manager. The company has high hopes that Willis, who's managed channel partnerships at Avaya, Cisco, and Oracle, will help continue to build indirect sales. Already, Network Automation's partner base consists of 120 players that sell the vendor's solutions, including the recently launched AutoMate 7 and BPAServer 7, to companies of every size, from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 behemoths like Walmart.

Bishop says about half of Network Automation's customers are SMBs. "Just because you're a small company doesn't mean that you need less sophistication," he says. "Our solutions give them that sophistication in an easy-to-use drag-and-drop format. We're getting people out of the business of writing scripts."

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