Student information systems vendor Tribal has revealed plans to build a channel ecosystem for the first time in the vendor's history, and this will happen in Australia.
UK-headquartered, Tribal has been present in Australia since 2007 and have since acquired three local companies; Sky Software ($21 million) and Human Edge in 2014 and Callista Software ($3.6 million) in 2015.
Now, Tribal managing director of Asia Pacific Peter Croft told ARN that being a direct business can be limiting.
"We are looking at developing partners in Australia because to date we've only been our only channel to market, and as you can appreciate this is quite limiting," Croft told ARN.
"We have a product suite, particularly in the school areas, which is not commodity but it is well packaged – a set of modules that operates in schools which are separable and works well for selling through third parties.
"It is easily trainable so yes we are looking at developing third parties both in the schools and vocational area as well."
In Australia, Tribal caters to one third of all schools, a third of all universities and two state-wide TAFE deals, in addition to all NSW Department of Education public schools.
Croft said that building a channel ecosystem is part of the vendor's 2019 plans, specifically around creating a one tier value-added reseller (VAR) relationship.
But Tribal isn't chasing large system integrators, as it believes they wouldn't add any value that Tribal couldn’t add.
"The value we would add to a channel partner is that we can create value for them that they can't create by themselves," Croft explained. "We can make them stickier with the customer, we can create a new source of annuity revenue for them and we can create a new sense of high value-add for them in their own customers."
The way Tribal plans to do that is through its highly adopted solutions. Croft explained that Tribal offers a depth and size of development capability that its competitors don't.
For example, the vendor offers a range of student apps which are like a closed social media network. According to Croft there is a lot of demand from RTOs (registered training organisations) to offer a safe and controlled environment for communication between students and lecturers and the colleges.
Tribal will look for partners servicing specifically the RTOs and the company plans to hire a channel executive in 2019 to take care of the Australian channel, which will initially be a responsibility of Croft.
Tribal was selected in 2011 to implement its ebs student management system to TAFE NSW under the learning management and business reform (LMBR).
However, TAFE NSW faced several issues that were blamed on the Tribal system, including delays in student enrolments and inaccuracies in student finances.
At the time, TAFE NSW and Tribal issued a joint clarification claiming those issues were “due to a host of issues related to non-integration with the third party fee calculator, staff training compliance, data migration scope and quality of legacy data”.