Channel building

Channel building

Emerging technology companies may have a handle on innovation, but coming to grips with the idiosyncratic federal market is another story.

For this reason, product vendors often team with integrators and resellers who are familiar with the territory and able to navigate the procurement process. The integrator's ability to incorporate a product into an overarching solution is another attraction. The integrator's role on many contracts as the technology gatekeeper doesn't hurt, either.

"We're spending a lot of time in [Washington, D.C.] right now with integrators," said Steve Solomon, chief executive officer of Citadel Security Software Inc., a maker of automated vulnerability remediation software. The company has an arrangement with Northrop Grumman Corp. and is in discussions with a number of other integrators, he added.

Fortress Technologies, another player in the security space, relies completely on partners. "The larger deployments are all done with value-added resellers and integrators," said Ken Evans, vice president of marketing and product management at Fortress.

In some cases, cultivating new business channels isn't just a good idea, it's a necessity. In the case of WiebeTech LLC, the company caught the FBI's attention with its new forensic hard-drive docking product. But the FBI wanted to purchase the product through a federal reseller.

James Wiebe, founder of WiebeTech, got in touch with PC Mall Gov, which handled the FBI deal and now represents the company's forensic line and encrypted hard-drive products.

Edward Troha, director of marketing programs at ObjectVideo Inc., said his firm is developing direct and indirect business channels. ObjectVideo develops video surveillance software.

"We are developing partnerships with a number of larger integrators, especially those unique to the security space," he said. The company is interested in contractors with established customer relationships and contract vehicles.

"We are not the entire solution," Troha said, noting that ObjectVideo focuses on software, not cameras or other hardware. This product approach, he said, "lends itself to more of a teaming strategy."

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