Michele Masterson

Nuance Focuses On Partners

Nuance Communications has rolled out Nuance Connections, a partner program that provides tools and services for contact solution providers to deliver advanced voice and natural language solutions to organizations.
nuance partner
The new program is focused on training, demand generation, and transparent collaboration to empower Nuance partners. Designed to increase sales, the program provides Nuance contact center solution partners with formalized customer engagement strategies, sales, product education, and demand generation support, the company said. In addition, Nuance partners can access new solutions such as Nuance Call Steering Package, a rapid-development environment for creating VoiceXML natural language solutions. Partners will also be able to employ Nuance FastStart, a packaged self-service solution that allows partners to resell Nuance Professional Services that offer resources or specific skills that aren’t available from the partner.
Speech Technology Magazine talked to Amy Livingstone, director, channel programs and development, Nuance, about the new initiative.

Q: Did Nuance have a previous reseller program?

A: The partner program before this was more informal. For a long time I think that Nuance was very focused on building out our more complete solutions portfolio and enhanced capabilities for implementation of our solutions as well. Along with that there was confusion in the market with our partners about how we would play together, what we could expect from each other as we’re working with the same customers and we have very complimentary technologies and in some cases, competitive offerings, particularly from a professional services perspective.

As a company, and as an enterprise customer solutions business, we haven’t dedicated the energy, the resources and investment to partners for the past several years as we are now. So, there’s an initiative from [CEO] Paul Ricci down through [management] to recraft our resources in a way that is dedicated to making our partners effective.

Q: How critical is this program for Nuance?

A: Our partners deliver a vast majority of our license revenue, a very significant chunk, maybe about 40 percent of our professional services revenue comes through the partners. This reflects where the business is fulfilled. These partners have relationships with our customers, they’re critical in the sales process.

Q: Why is the partner program being launched now?

A: This program signifies is a return to that focus on partners, to a real commitment to our go-to-market strategy where partners play a very central role. One of the primary focal points of the program is where some of the issues have been in the past, around sales engagement strategy, around creating a partner network that is both motivated to sell Nuance solutions and is capable of doing that both with us and independently as well.

Q: Is new technology a growth area for partners?

A: We’re seeing expanded demand, the Siri effect, the effect of consumers using natural language in their automobiles, in their homes. There’s a growing expectation among consumers for what they can do with our technology and that’s transferring over to the interaction with companies that they do business with so there’s a greater acceptance and demand from our target audience for the kind of natural solutions that consumers are becoming accustomed to, and we know we need a strong partner network in order to fulfill that demand.

We’re also seeing a demand move down further in the market. The technology has reached a maturity stage that we are seeing expanded opportunity across greater market segments, and we will not be successful in reaching the potential for the technology without a strong partnership of our channel.

Q: Why should resellers partner with Nuance?

A: We’re making a commitment to partners and saying we cannot and will not be successful without you. Our sales reps will not be compensated unless they work together with a partner to close business outside of our named accounts. That is one critical element that was missing in the past that we now make clear that we are serious about working with partners.

Add to that a program of identifying, developing and packaging solutions that better address our partners customer base so that solutions that they have to sell are more compelling and accessible for their install base and add to that the team that we’re building out to create growth and support the program, I think you have a more holistic approach than anything we’ve attempted in the past.