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Westbrook Technologies provides enterprise document management software solutions for mid-market companies that need to maintain their competitive edge. The company develops document management (Fortis and File Magic), web-imaging (Fortis PowerWeb), ERM and workflow (Fortis Inflo) software in use at thousands of customer sites in 52 countries. Paul Lord (pictured right), chief executive officer, takes some time out to tell us about the importance of the companys channel strategy.

Q: What is your route to market?

A: We sell exclusively through a reseller modelwe are elite and do not over saturate our partners.

Many of our partners fall into the software specialist provider category. These are businesses that bring Fortis into organizations that are looking to integrate a document management solution with their current line of business applications. More often or not, this type of partner finds great success specializing in a particular vertical market such as healthcare or legal.

Next up is consultancies and systems integratorsthe partners who understand the key role document management and present it as a total solution to a customer, through evaluation and analyzing their particular needs. They reap the rewards of not only managing the project, but through implementation and providing continuing software support to further their revenue.

The majority and most profitable type of Fortis partner is the traditional hardware vendor, who have had the realization that to survive in this highly competitive business it will take more than copier leases and maintenance contracts. These partners perceive the value of combining a document management solution, like Fortis, to provide the storage and retrieval at the backend with copiers, scanners and multifunctional devices doing the document capture at the front end.

These types of partners have seen their business grow as they introduce a Fortis solution married to their hardware. As the customer comes to rely on the Fortis solution as part of his daily decision making process thus providing years of upgrades, support service and in return watch their profits grow. The result of introducing this type of a total solution into an organization is the guarantee of a continuing revenue stream.

Q: How do you view the current state of the European/UK market for your technology?

A: Document management is a worldwide issue. With over 15,000 users in 52 countrieswe understand there is a need for document management to solve compliance, provide continuity planning, enable collaboration and reduce labour costs. Fortis is that solution and those customers who engage in and our software have seen those efficiency gains tenfold. It is no mere coincidence that Fortis is the enterprise document management of choice for thousands of users in 52 countries. It is renowned for its dependable reputation.

Our teams of developers have written the finest document management solution in the market today, and continue to improve on it by listening and responding, and in most cases anticipating our customers. In addition, just imagine the continuing support revenue brought in by a product that prides itself on its dependability!

We have a very extensive and thorough QA process as part of our development programme; and, we do this so that you can be assured that the software is high quality and reliable when you install it on your customer sites. We do not want you to be burdened with large support teams taking lots of phone calls from your customers due to quality issues. We pride ourselves in the quality reputation we have in the industry and want to ensure that you are employing personnel in helping you grow your business and not for fixing problems with our applications. For many of our partners, the profit margins made as a result of yearly support feeswhere the partner does not have to support any problem customersare some of the highest margins they make. Quality and reliability is a critical component of any decision you make on who you should partner with.

Q: Do you need to expand your current channels? If so, what kinds of partners are you looking for?

A: We do not over populate our partner channel and in fact we have less than 150 partners worldwide which makes our partner programme elite. We firmly believe in keeping it elite. Many of our competitors will try to tell you that it is advantageous to have thousands of partners. We do not subscribe to this philosophy. If you are our partner and engage in a long and costly sales cycle we dont want your customer to be able to pick up the phone and buy your solution from another one of the thousand or so other partners that may be out there. We dont want thousands of partners we just want high quality partners and the best. So get in touch if you are interested in joining the partner team that recently saw our top 10 partners increase their sales by 40 per cent. And within that distinguished category, three of the top partners increased sales by a remarkable 1000 per cent

Q: How will you support them?

A: Our partner programme prides itself on providing our partners with instant access to specialists who are able to respond immediately to their support needs. Whether it is support with technical issues, sales related questions, customer demonstrations, training, or even seeking guidance from our experienced sales managers. We are here for you! You need to know that you have complete support backing you up from the authors of the software as you look to grow and enhance your business in a highly competitive market.

We have extensive marketing programmes that are designed to promote our partners and their offerings in their markets. Our lead generation and business development programmes are designed from the outset to help you grow your business. We want you to be successful and provide you with all the necessary tools to promote that success! In addition to our comprehensive marketing programmes, our team of marketing professionals will assist your business in crafting, publicizing, and presenting the benefits of Fortis document management with high quality collateral, software demos, newsletters, trade show attendance, advertising, press mentions, exclusive partner website, partner-only web casts and other high-visibility campaigns. You will be provided with all the materials and expertise you need to close business, publicize your success and attract customers!

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