A mutually beneficial partnership delivered by Microsoft

Microsoft’s ISV Connect programme has helped SK Global Software and SignUp Software expand their global reach and enter new markets

Alex Smith
By Alex Smith on 25 October 2021
A mutually beneficial partnership delivered by Microsoft

The growing ecosystem of the Microsoft Business Applications ISV Connect programme helps partners work together to meet common goals. Microsoft independent software vendors (ISVs) SK Global Software and SignUp Software are one example. Both businesses build their solutions on Microsoft Dynamics 365, with SK Global Software specialising in global banking and treasury automation and SignUp Software ExFlow focusing on accounts payable (AP) invoice automation. They each joined the programme to expand their geographic reach and move into new markets.

“One of our big drivers was to gain access to those markets where Microsoft is very well-known and we are not,” says Torbjörn Thorsén, head of marketing at SignUp Software, which is based in Sweden. “We’ve had great results through contacts with new partners and new prospects through AppSource, and we’ve worked with Microsoft to develop those channels even further.”

Leveraging the benefits of the ISV Connect programme, the two businesses joined forces in their go-to-market efforts by packaging their solutions for an end-to-end customer experience based on the Dynamics 365 interface.

The joint SK Global-SignUp solution starts with ExFlow, which handles a customer’s incoming invoice processing. It scans an invoice, automates coding, automatically matches the invoice to a purchase order or creates an approval workflow, and, once the invoice is approved, transfers it to SK Global’s Treasury Automation Suite, which automatically handles cash management and vendor and customer payment processes.

One customer using the joint solution is Agtegra, a farmer-owned agricultural cooperative based in the USA.

When Agtegra began implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365, it also wanted to modernise and consolidate its AP and banking solutions. And the SK Global-SignUp joint solution was ideal for them. Since the firms’ software was bundled together, Agtegra was able to reduce the number of ISV relationships it had to maintain while getting the value of both. And because the bundled solution is built on Dynamics 365, Agtegra is confident that the product is certified and up to date with the latest upgrades.

After implementing the joint solution, Agtegra reduced the approval time for its 70,000 invoices substantially, saving time and effort. “Through the efficiencies provided by SignUp and SK Global, we’re able to spend more time focusing on value added activities to better serve our stakeholders,” says Paul Forst, chief financial officer at Agtegra.

Beyond collaborating to deliver a bundled solution to customers, SK Global Software and SignUp Software have benefited in other ways from their participation in ISV Connect. The joint solution is available on AppSource, which has led to many leads that more easily translate into sales opportunities. “We have connected AppSource into our Dynamics 365 customer relationship management system, so we can work with leads really easily,” says Thorsén. “We can quickly shift any North American leads to SK Global, where they can sell in that market. And we know that if the lead has taken the time to actually click on a link in AppSource, it’s more likely to be qualified.”

“We really appreciate how Microsoft reps helped us combine the AppSource template with intel from Microsoft sellers to create content geared to what sellers in ISV Connect need,” says Aynsley Keller, director of sales and operations at SK Global Software. “It’s been a real benefit to have AppSource generate so many qualified leads.”

Engaging with Microsoft sellers through ISV Connect has also been critical to the success of the bundled solution in the market. Being part of the programme has allowed SignUp Software to expand its seller relationships beyond the Nordic market into the rest of Europe and North America.

“Now we get a conversation going with our Swedish Partner Development Manager (PDM), who talks with the North American PDM,” says Thorsén. “With that exposure, when we put deals into the co-sell opportunities in Partner Center, they’re being accepted by the Enterprise Sales Team, which opens another communication channel. That has been really valuable, and it’s growing in value day by day.”

Microsoft’s continued investment in increasing the number of sellers who advocate for ISVs in the ISV Connect programme has contributed to a greater than 30 per cent increase in the sales of the SK Global-SignUp bundled solution. “Just recently, the Microsoft selling team creatively presented our solution to an existing managed customer,” says Keller. “We didn’t have that visibility before ISV Connect.”

Going forward, both Thorsén and Keller see ISV Connect as critical in helping their businesses expand their global reach. “The programme enables organisations like ours to get leads from all over the world,” says Thorsén. “Plus, since Dynamics 365 is a global product, ISV Connect allows us to establish ourselves wherever Microsoft sells finance and ­operations-focused solutions.”

“We’re grateful that Microsoft continues to invest in the ISV ecosystem,” says Keller. “ISV Connect is a platform where ISVs can grow and customers can combine their ERP with proven solutions. We’re excited to see where it goes.”

This article was originally published in the Autumn 2021 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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