Single sign-on vendor Imprivata has revamped its partner program creating tiers, enabling protected deal registration and upping top margins from 30 to 35 percent.

The change comes just two and a half years after the Lexington, Mass. company first introduced its flagship product to the market through a single-tier channel program with the same technical requirements for all partners.

“We wanted to take a fresh look at the structure of the program to make sure it was still attractive to new and existing partners and aligned with our goals as a company,” said Eric Blatte, director of channel sales and programs at Imprivata.

With that in mind the two tiers offer easy participation for the Authorized tier partner. And it offers several improvements requested by existing partners to the Premiere tier partner.

The new program provides a 10 percent commission for deal registration that is retained by the registering partner even if someone else finishes the deal.

“With a solution like Imprivata where you spend a lot in building the opportunity, this allows us to have a little bit of protection in terms of registering deals,” said Andy Swenson, managing director of security and infrastructure practices at Tampa, Fla. systems integrator Tribridge.

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And while deal losses under those circumstances don’t happen every day they do happen “with enough frequency that it is a concern,” he said.

That provision of the new tier structure was even more important to Swenson than the increased margin structure, which raises Premiere tier partner margin to 25 percent from 20 percent, not including the deal registration commission.

To participate in the Premiere tier, partners are required to fulfill a handful of technical and financial requirements. They must have at least one person in each geographic area who is technically certified on the company’s products.

Technical certification requires having gone through the company’s education program, being shadowed by company representatives in the field for a two engagements (typically lasting five to 10 days each), and passing an online exam that lasts a few hours, according to Imprivata.

In addition, Premiere partners are required to provide a $250,000 or above sales forecast on an annual basis and provide Imprivata with a marketing contact and a relationship contact, the company said.

“We put a lot of marketing dollars behind our partner relationships,” said Blatte. “Partners told us they did not want marketing dollars based on how much revenue they generate. They want it on a case-by-case basis instead. This is a very custom approach.”

That’s a departure from the programs offered by some vendors, and Imprivata’s partners say they like the difference.

“Other vendor programs are very rigid in market development funds, giving you money based on past revenue,” said Swenson. “But if you are developing markets you are investing before you make the revenue, not after.”

Swenson noted that the training requirements are similar to those required by other vendors.

Imprivata hopes the new program will increase its partner rolls to 250 by the end of the year from the current level of 95.

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“The majority of our partners today are considered Premiere partners,” Blatte said. “We’ve added this entry level tier of partners for those who want to try Imprivata but don’t want to initially make a big investment or a long-term commitment.”

The base margin for this Authorized Partner tier is 15 percent, and these partners can also qualify for the 10 percent margin on deal registration. These partners are not required to participate in marketing events, and their sales forecast must be $100,000 or above.

Blatte expects the partner ranks to shift over the next year as more Authorized partners are added so that those entry level partners make up the majority.

Imprivata was founded six years ago with a goal of bringing single sign-on technology, which had really only been economically feasible for enterprise-size shops, down to small and midsize businesses.

The company launched its flagship product three years ago and in the last year has added two more products. One allows the use of a token or fingerprint for authentication instead of a password. The other, Physical/Logic, integrates the company’s products with building access systems. For instance, it prevents a user from logging into his desktop without having first keyed into the building.