Integrators still essential

No matter what innovative technologies or market approaches small companies may invent, partnerships with integrators remain critical, small-business leaders say.

Citrix Systems Inc. recently began cultivating relationships with integrators to help market its network products. "This was a fundamental shift in the thinking of the company," said Mark Goldman, Citrix vice president of government systems. "Most of our government [customers] use integrators, and I thought it was important for us to have relationships with them." The integrator partnership can make the difference between growth into larger accounts or forever staying small, he said. "Most of these integrators are playing at the enterprise level," he said. "You're not going to see one of them go into an agency to sell 25 seats." DataPower Technology Inc. has a new partnership with Science Applications International Corp. that Eugene Kuznetsov, chief technology officer, believes will give DataPower an edge. SAIC officials see the company's Extensible Markup Language-based offerings as a natural adjunct to their TeraText Database System, which is geared toward large XML implementations, said Steve Rizzi, an SAIC vice president. SAIC can also use the products in other engagements, he added. DataPower spends a lot of time with agencies to help them understand the technology; SAIC has the relationships and sales infrastructure to better handle the contracting process, Kuznetsov said. "We still expect to do a fair amount of work directly with the customer. It's just easier for them to buy it through SAIC and get them to install it and so on," he said.

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