Drupal IT Consultants Get Channel Program Option from Acquia

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Acquia is launching a new version of Drupal, an open-source content management system, which will give solution providers, IT consultants and Web developers an alternative to commercial CMS software.

With more and more businesses looking to climb on the Web 2.0 bandwagon, there's got to be a lot of opportunity for IT solution providers who can bring the benefits of a Web 2.0 implementation to end-user companies. Looking to capitalize on that trend, Acquia has created a distribution of open source Web 2.0 platform Drupal for blogs, communities, wikis and other content forms, in addition to providing subscriptions to support. The model follows how Red Hat has commercialized a Linux distribution and subscription support, according to Jeff Whatcott, vice president of marketing for Acquia.
Acquia announced its distribution of Drupal the first week in October, and on Oct. 14 the company embraced the indirect model by introducing a channel partner program targeted at IT consultants, hosting providers, ISVs with complementary technologies, and value-added distributors and resellers. 

The program functions more like an affiliate program than a true reseller program, with partners realizing most of their revenues from the consulting fee they charge to customers for putting together their Web 2.0 implementation. Typically, implementations start at around $25,000, according to Whatcott. Partners also receive a commission ranging from 4 percent to 8 percent, depending on their tier in the program.

"Most partners make their businesses out of building sites on Drupal," said Chuck D'Antonio, channel chief at the company. "But when the site was done, the end customer had nowhere to go to ask ongoing questions other than to call integrator that built the site for them. Most of the solution providers that do this aren't in that business." So this business model provides end customers with ongoing support that the channel partner doesn't necessarily want to provide.

Target end customers range from very small businesses to very large ones, Whatcott said. For example, typical Drupal end-user organizations include newspapers, publishing organizations, universities and corporations such as Yahoo and AOL, which are using Drupal to power developer communities, according to Whatcott.

And although Acquia's partner program is launching with just 14 solution providers onboard, there are thousands of Drupal solution providers working in the market today, according to Acquia estimates.

The four-tiered program offers Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond levels. Gold partners do $15,000 of Acquia revenue per year and their own revenues must be $2 million or more. Platinum partners must drive $100,000 or more of Acquia revenues per year and their own revenues must be $4 million or more. Silver partners must sell three subscriptions per year. Diamond partners are individually negotiated, and the company currently does not have any Diamond partners.

Acquia will be vetting partner applications, and D'Antonio said the company will also be providing partners with customer leads.

In terms of commissions, Silver partners get about 4 percent, Gold partners get about 6 percent and Platinum partners get about 8 percent. 


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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